- 2 December 2016
- Author: Nikolas Perseputto
The automobile manufacturing division of Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru is renowned for boxer engine layout in many of its vehicles, as well as all-wheel drive-train layout. Headquartered in Ebiso and Tokyo, Japan, Subaru of America, Inc. has its headquarters in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. “Subaru” is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster, also called “The Seven Sisters,” with one “sister” supposedly invincible. This is why only six stars appear on the oval Subaru logo. Renowned for “durability, reliability, traction and ‘active safety,’” Subaru features one of the highest repurchase-loyalty ratings in the U.S.
Fuji Heavy Industries began as the The Aircraft Research Laboratory in 1915 headed by Chikuhei Nakajima. Revamped as the Nakajima Aircraft Company in 1932, the company gained prominence as a major aircraft manufacturer for Japan during the Second World War. The company underwent changes yet again after the war’s end and became the Fuji Sangyo Co, Ltd. The Fuji Rabbit Motor Scooter was created in 1946 using spare aircraft parts leftover from the war.
Fuji Sangyo was separated into 12 small corporations in 1950 due to the Japanese government's 1950 Corporate Credit Rearrangement Act. However, several of these corporations merged between 1953 and 1955. Fuji Heavy Industries CEO Kenji Kita decided the company should start manufacturing cars, and gave the first car, the P-1, the Subaru name as he had been “cherishing the name in his heart.” The P-1, or the Subaru 1500, was the first Subaru, and only 20 were manufactured due to numerous supply issues.
From 1954 to 2008, Subaru created a variety of vehicles, including the Subaru 1000 in 1965, which introduced the company’s signature boxer engine. Nissan acquired a 20.4% share in 1968 following a period of government-ordered Japanese auto industry merging, and several Subaru vehicles subsequently use Nissan parts. For example, the Subaru automatic transmission, the 4EAT, is also found in the first generation Nissan Pathfinder.
Nissan was acquired by Renault in the late 1990s, and their 20% Subaru share sold to General Motors in 1999. Toyota Motor Corporation purchased an 8.7% share of GM’s stake in October 2005.
Subaru of America, Inc. was founded in 1968 and moved to its Cherry Hill location in 1986. The headquarters is an $18 million, 115,000 square-foot, seven-story building employing 300 people in Finance, IT, Product Planning, Marketing and Sales. Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories are manufactured “through a network of approximately 600 retailers” all over the U.S.
The Subaru Legacy serves as the manufacturer’s flagship model, launching in 1989 and surpassing 3.6 million units as of 2008. A mid-size, four-door car featuring Subaru’s signature boxer engine, the vehicle was originally created to prove Subaru could compete with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry in the North American mid-size market. Now in its sixth generation, the Subaru Legacy made its 2014 debut at the Chicago Auto Show and features either a 2.5-liter flat-four FB25 and a 3.6-liter flat-six EZ36D engine.
While the manual transmission version of the Subaru Legacy was discontinued in the U.S. market, the car still features horizontally-opposed engine layouts and standard all-wheel drive. Eyesight is the car’s safety system, which monitors the road via windshield-mounted cameras and reacts to driving conditions and potential hazards faster than the driver.
The Subaru Legacy is available in four trim levels: base 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited, each of which features a range of amenities.
Current Subaru models include 12 options sold in North America, Europe, Asia, Japan, the Middle East and Oceania, and five models in Europe and Asia only.
Among the 12 models sold worldwide is the Subaru BRZ (sports car), Subaru Exiga (crossover utility vehicle), Subaru Forester (crossover compact SUV), Subaru Impreza (compact four-door sedan or five-door hatchback), and the Subaru Legacy (mid-size sedan).
Customers can choose to “build their own” Subaru, which includes choosing the model, color, accessories and more. With so many customization options, there’s a Subaru for everyone.
Subaru has produced a range of vehicle options since its incarnation, including concept cars such as the 1996 Subaru Exiga station wagon, and the Subaru B9 Scrambler, a sleek, open sports car shown at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show.
Subaru is celebrated for its boxer engine layout, which appears in nearly all of its 1500cc plus automobiles and creates a much smoother ride compared to other engines. The company is also known for providing clients with turbocharged variants of their regular passenger vehicles, and most of today’s models feature all-wheel drive, which was first added in 1996.
Subaru was one of the last major car manufacturers to implement the diesel engine due to its lack of popularity in the U.S. and Japan, however diesel engine Subaru options went on the market in 2008.