The company best known in the United States for its Subaru cars is preparing to build a new $98 million factory to fabricate a major part for the new 777X aircraft from Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA). The Nikkei reports that Fuji Heavy Industries will make wing boxes for the 777X at a new plant that could open as early as next year.
Fuji already makes wing boxes for the 777 and the 787 Dreamliner, and the company is a natural choice to build the boxes for the 777X. The wing box connects the wing to the fuselage.
Neither Boeing nor Fuji would confirm the Reuters report. Boeing said, “Supply chain partnerships and production system decisions will be addressed at the appropriate time.” A Fuji spokesman said only that the company would decide on the construction of a facility once Boeing places an order.
Boeing experienced problems with the wing box on the 787, which added to the three-year delay in delivering that aircraft. Mitsubishi and Kawasaki also build portions of the 787 wing, and together with Fuji the three suppliers build about 35% of the aircraft.
That percentage will likely drop to around 21% on the 777X because Boeing is building a wing assembly plant in Washington as part of its agreement with its machinists union last January. The union approved changes to the pension plan, among other concessions, in exchange for keeping more than 30,000 jobs.
Boeing shares rose just less than 1% on Monday to close at $123.25 in a 52-week range of $85.75 to $144.57.