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Subaru , a Japanese automobile manufacturer, is a division of Fuji Heavy Industries(FHI).
"Subaru" is the Japanese word for both "unite" and "six gathered stars", referring to the star cluster Pleiades that is depicted in the company logo. The Pleiades (also known as the Seven Sisters) has seven stars visible to the naked eye. The Subaru logo's six stars represent the five companies that came together after World War II. Starting as a small automotive company, compared to many of its competitors, Subaru has become a large, highly-profitable company for many years. It is noted for the production of conventional-bodied cars with full-time AWD (in fact, in many markets its entire product range has this feature) and its use of the horizontally-opposed engine.
It is currently an affiliate of Toyota Motor Corporation, with them owning 8.7% of FHI. They acquired that stake from General Motors, who bought 20% of FHI in 1999 to have an extended presence in international markets, and collaborate technologically with FHI. Before that, the stake owned by GM was owned by Nissan, who acquired the stake around the mid-1980s in order to utilize FHI's bus manufacturing capability. In turn, many Subaru vehicles, even today, use parts from the Nissan manufacturing [keiretsu]. In fact, it was Subaru that introduced Renault to Nissan when they asked for assistance in all-wheel drive (AWD) technology, when FHI told Renault to discuss their plans with Nissan, the discussions eventually led to the successful Renault-Nissan alliance.
Subaru's best-known vehicles are high performance turbocharged versions of its Legacy (known as Liberty in Australia—it was renamed out of respect for the Legacy Australia Foundation, which aids veterans and their families during and after wars), and Impreza, which offer outstanding performance and handling at relatively affordable prices. Modified versions of the Impreza WRX and WRX STi have been competing successfully in car rallies and the World Rally Championship for many years (World Champion drivers include: Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Petter Solberg). Several endurance records were set in the early and mid-nineties by the Legacy.
Popular nicknames (especially among owners) for the Subaru brand name are "Scooby" and "Scooby-Doo" in the UK, and "Subie" or "Soobie" in the U.S. The Impreza WRX model is often referred to as the "Rex."
Subaru started out as "The Aircraft Research Laboratory" in 1917 headed by Chikuhei Nakajima. Then in 1931, the company was reorganized as "Nakajima Aircraft Co., Ltd", which made many fighters and bombers. Even the famous Mitsubishi Zero fighter had a Nakajima 14 cylinder engine. After the Sccond World War, the company was forced to spread into 15 companies to cut the strength of the huge weapon industry. Nakajima Aircraft was again reorganized, this time as Fuji Sangyo Co, Ltd. In 1946, Fuji Sangyo created its first Rabbit motor scooter with spare aircraft parts from the war. In 1950, Fuji Sangyo was divided into 12 smaller corporations according to the 1950 Corporate Credit Rearrangement Act, but between 1953-1955, four of these corporations and a newly- formed corporation formed by an alliance of the four aforementioned companies were again merged together to form the Fuji Heavy Industries we know today.
From 1954 to 1989 the company designed and manufactured dozens of vehicles including the P1 (1954), the 360 (1958), the Sambar (1961), the 1000 (1965), the 1100 and the R2 (1969), the Leone (1971, 1975 and 1977), the Domingo (1983), the Alcyclone (1985) and the Legacy (1989).
In the 1990's the company moved away from small commercial vehicles and concentrated on the development of rally car models including the Vivio and the Impreza (1992). However in 1995 the company created the Sambar EV electric van. In 1997 the Forester was introduced to the world market, followed by a new design of the Legacy vehicle (1998). Throughout the 90s and into the 2000s Subaru had a close commercial partnership with the World Rally Championship. Several big name drivers were sponsored by Subaru and drove their vehicles. This partnership continued until 2008 when Subaru decided to pull their funding.
Toyota announced a contract with Japanese rival Subaru on March 13, 2006. The under-utilized Subaru of Indiana Automotiveplant (SIA) in Lafayette will hire up to 1,000 workers and set aside an assembly line for Camry, beginning in spring 2007.General Motors was a 20% minority shareholder of Fuji Heavy from 1999 until 2005 when they sold 8.7% to Toyota and put the rest on the open market.
As of October 5, 2005, Toyota stated that it will purchase 8.7% of the shares of FHI from General Motors. In addition, GM announced that it will eventually sever all ties with FHI, the parent company of Subaru. FHI has also stated that there have been 27 million shares (worth 3.4% of its stock) acquired before the start of trading by an unknown party on October 6. It is speculated that a bank or perhaps another automaker was behind it.
From 1995 to 2000, Subaru ran a series of advertisements for the Subaru Outback which starred Paul Hogan. The advertisements were intended to highlight Subaru's all wheel drive, and depicted the Outback in a number of rugged Australian locations.
Pop culture references
Subaru is mentioned in the Bruce Springsteen song "Pink Cadillac"
It was also mentioned in Blondie's song "Rapture"
Also mentioned in the Bloodhound Gang song titled "Pennsylvania" from the album Hefty Fine.
All present non-keicar models of Subaru are AWD vehicles.
- B9 Tribeca
- Forester (a crossover SUV)
- Impreza WRX
- Impreza WRX STi
- Subaru Impreza 22B STi
- Pleo (a Keicar)
- R1 (a Keicar)
- R2 (a Keicar)
- Sambar (a Keicar)
- FF-1 Star
- FF-1 G
- 1400 DL/GL
- 1600 Leone
- Alcyone (also called the XT, XT6, and Vortex)
- Alcyone SVX (also called the SVX)
- BRAT (also called the Brumby)
- Traviq (a rebadged Opel Zafira Minivan, FWD)
Fuji Heavy Industries
Concept: Elten Custom · Fleet-X · HM-01 · WX-01 · B9 Scrambler · R1e · R2 · B11S · B5-TPH · Impreza WRC Concept · G4e Concept · Impreza Exiga Concept · STELLA Concept · Impreza WRX STI Takumi Concept · Forester XTI Concept · Forester Mountain Rescue Vehicle Concept · Legacy Concept · Hybrid Tourer Concept · Impreza Concept
|Chikuhei Nakajima||Subaru Corporate website||A subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries|
- Official Sites
- Supplier Sites
- Car Clubs / Forums
- NASIOC North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club
- OffroadSubaru WebsiteAustralian Offroad Subaru site
- Worlds Largest Impreza Community
- ClubSub, New Zealand's largest Subaru Club
- Information on all years and models of Subarus
- Subiesport Magazine: North American Subaru Periodical
- Subaru Forester Owners Forum