Subaru

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For other uses, see Subaru (disambiguation).
Subaru
Type Division
Industry Automobile manufacturing
Founded FHI established July 7, 1953
first Subaru car introduced 1954
Founders Kenji Kita
Chikuhei Nakajima (predecessor)
Headquarters Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan
Key people Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, (President and CEO of Fuji Heavy Industries)
Takeshi Tachimori (Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, Subaru of America)
Thomas J. Doll, (Executive president, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Subaru USA)
Products Subaru automobiles, Toyota automobiles assembled under contract
Parent Fuji Heavy Industries
Divisions Subaru Tecnica International
Website Subaru Global

Subaru (スバル?) is the automobile manufacturing division of Japanese transportation conglomerate Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), the twenty-second biggest automaker by production worldwide in 2012.[1]

Subaru is known for its use of the boxer engine layout in most of its vehicles above 1500 cc as well as its use of the Symmetrical All Wheel Drive drive-train layout since 1972. The flat/boxer engine and all-wheel-drive became standard equipment for mid-size and smaller cars in most international markets by 1996, and is now standard in most North American market Subaru vehicles. The lone exception is the BRZ, introduced in 2012, which uses the boxer engine but is rear-wheel-drive. Subaru also offers turbocharged versions of their passenger cars, such as the Impreza WRX.

Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru, is currently in a partial partnership with Toyota Motor Corporation, which owns 16.5% of FHI.[2]

Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster M45, or "The Seven Sisters" (one of whom tradition says is invisible - hence only six stars in the Subaru logo), which in turn inspires the logo and alludes to the companies that merged to create FHI.[3]

History[edit]

Former logo on a Subaru 360 showing six stars in an arrangement similar to the Pleiades open star cluster

Fuji Heavy Industries started out as The Aircraft Research Laboratory in 1915, headed by Chikuhei Nakajima. In 1932, the company was reorganized as Nakajima Aircraft Company, Ltd and soon became a major manufacturer of aircraft for Japan during World War II. At the end of the Second World War Nakajima Aircraft was again reorganized, this time as Fuji Sangyo Co, Ltd. In 1946, the company created the Fuji Rabbit motor scooter with spare aircraft parts from the war.[4] In 1950, Fuji Sangyo was divided into 12 smaller corporations according to the Japanese Government's 1950 Corporate Credit Rearrangement Act, anti-zaibatsu legislation. Between 1953 and 1955, four of these corporations and a newly formed corporation Fuji Kogyo, a scooter manufacturer; coachbuilders Fuji Jidosha; engine manufacturers Omiya Fuji Kogyo; chassis builders Utsunomiya Sharyo and the Tokyo Fuji Dangyo trading company[citation needed] decided to merge to form the Fuji Heavy Industries known today.

Subaru 1500, a.k.a. the P-1

Kenji Kita, CEO of Fuji Heavy Industries at the time, wanted the new company to be involved in car manufacturing and soon began plans for building a car with the development code-name P-1. Mr. Kita canvassed the Company for suggestions about naming the P1, but none of the proposals was appealing enough. In the end he gave the car a Japanese name that he had "been cherishing in his heart": Subaru, which is the name of the Pleiades star cluster in Japanese. The first Subaru car was named the Subaru 1500.[5] Only twenty P1s were manufactured owing to multiple supply issues. From 1954 to 2008 the company designed and manufactured dozens of vehicles including the 1500 (1954), the tiny air-cooled 360 (1958), the Sambar (1961), the 1000 (which saw the introduction of the Subaru boxer engine in 1965), the R-2 (1969), the Rex and the Leone (1971), the BRAT (1978), Alcyone (1985), the Legacy (1989), the Impreza (1993), the Forester (1997), the Tribeca (2005), the Exiga (2008), and the BRZ (2012).

1958 Subaru 360

Major shareholders[edit]

Nissan acquired a 20.4% stake in 1968 during a period of government-ordered merging of the Japanese auto industry in order to improve competitiveness under the administration of Prime Minister Eisaku Sato. Nissan would utilize FHI's bus manufacturing capability and expertise for their Nissan Diesel line of buses. In turn many Subaru vehicles, even today, use parts from the Nissan manufacturing keiretsu. The Subaru automatic transmission, known as the 4EAT, is also used in the first generation Nissan Pathfinder. Speculation has suggested Subaru introduced Renault to Nissan when Renault asked for assistance in all-wheel drive (AWD) technology, and when FHI told Renault to discuss their plans with Nissan, the discussions may have been a contributing factor to the currently successful Renault-Nissan alliance.[citation needed]

Upon Nissan's acquisition by Renault, its 20% stake was sold to General Motors in 1999. Troy Clarke, of General Motors served as representative to Fuji Heavy Industries on their corporate board. During that time, the Subaru Forester was sold as a Chevrolet Forester in India in exchange for the Opel Zafira being sold as a Subaru Traviq in Japan. Also, the Chevrolet Borrego concept was presented in 2002, a crossover coupe/pickup truck being derived from the Japanese-market Legacy Turbo platform. During the brief General Motors period, a "badge engineered" Impreza was sold in the United States as the Saab 9-2X. An SUV (Subaru Tribeca / SAAB 9-6X) was also planned[6][7] but the SAAB version did not proceed, and styling was recycled in the 2008 Tribeca refresh.[8]

On October 5, 2005 Toyota Motor Corporation purchased 8.7% of FHI shares from General Motors, which had owned 20.1% since 1999.[9] GM later divested its remaining 11.4% stake on the open market to sever all ties with FHI. FHI previously stated there might have been 27 million shares (3.4%) acquired before the start of trading by an unknown party on October 6, 2005, and speculation suggested a bank or perhaps another automaker was involved. After the purchase, Toyota announced a contract with Subaru on March 13, 2006 to use the underutilized Subaru manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Indiana, as well as plans to hire up to 1,000 workers and set aside an assembly line for the Camry, beginning in the second quarter of 2007.

Subaru in the United States[edit]

Main article: Subaru of America

Subaru of America was established in 1968 in Philadelphia by Malcolm Bricklin and Harvey Lamm. It relocated to Pennsauken, New Jersey shortly thereafter and moved to its current headquarters in Cherry Hill, New Jersey when Fuji Heavy Industries acquired full ownership. Subaru of America operates Regional offices, Zone offices and Parts Distribution Centers throughout the United States. Subaru of America also operates Port Facilities on both the West and East coasts.[10]

In 1989 Subaru and then-partner Isuzu opened a joint factory in Lafayette, Indiana called Subaru-Isuzu Automotive, Inc. or SIA, which initially manufactured the Subaru Legacy and Isuzu Rodeo. In 2001 Isuzu sold their stake in the plant to FHI for $1 due to flagging sales and it was renamed Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. SIA has been designated a backyard wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and has achieved a zero-landfill production designation (the first automotive assembly plant in the United States to earn that designation).[10]

Subaru in Canada[edit]

In 1976, Canadians got their first exposure to Subaru vehicles when Subaru Auto Canada Limited (SACL) began offering the Subaru Leone. In 1989, the privately owned SACL was purchased by the Toronto-based Subaru Canada, Inc. who, under the guidance of parent company Fuji Heavy Industries, began an expansion process that would eventually see over 100 Subaru Dealers in operation across the country.

Subaru Canada, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries of Japan. Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of 88 authorized dealers throughout Canada.

Subaru in the Philippines[edit]

Subaru has entered the Philippine operations started in 1996 under the Columbian Motors Philippines ownership but withdrew in 2000. It returned in 2006 under a new ownership by Motor Image Pilipinas Inc.[11] The Impreza has become a popular hatchback as an alternative to the Mazda 3. The Subaru Forester gained quick popularity in the country due to its relatively low price, even providing a harder competition to the extremely popular Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-7. The Subaru Legacy and Outback are also doing very well, as a much cheaper alternative to German luxury cars. Subaru has six dealerships in the country: Greenhills, Fort Bonifacio, Alabang, Davao, Cebu and Pampanga.[12]

Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc., part of Motor Image Group, the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of six dealerships in the Philippines.

Marketing efforts[edit]

In the 1970s, the company decided to expand its model range from small kei class vehicles like the Rex and Sambar and begin to develop larger mainstream passenger cars like the Leone. When Subaru continued in their efforts and introduced the Legacy in 1989, it was a sales success and a new direction for the company. Subaru decided to offer more products due to the Plaza Accord agreement of 1985 which made the value of the yen stronger in exchange rates to the dollar, which had an effect on Subaru sales in the USA. The creation of the Legacy was influenced by Subaru's desire to compete with successful Japanese carmakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda, and the Legacy was targeted against the Camry, Stanza, and Accord. The Legacy was considered mainstream in its appearance and a departure from previous vehicles which had earned a reputation of being "quirky". Subaru continued their new direction with the controversially styled Alcyone XT (1985), the GT six-cylinder SVX (1992), and the Impreza (1993).

From 1995 to 2000, Subaru ran a series of advertisements for the newly developed Subaru Outback which starred Paul Hogan as his "Crocodile Dundee" film character. The advertisements were intended to highlight Subaru's all wheel drive, and depicted the Outback in a number of rugged Australian locations. The tagline "the world's first sport utility wagon" was successfully used by Subaru, though the AMC Eagle had tried much the same idea with less success in the 1980s.

Before the Outback was introduced, Subaru sold a badge engineered Isuzu Trooper in Japan as the Subaru Bighorn.

Some of the advertising slogans Subaru has used in the past include "Inexpensive, and built to stay that way" (USA 1970s - early 1980s), "The World's Favorite Four Wheel Drive" (in the U.K.), "Plus on y pense, plus on a le gout de la conduire" (Literally: "The more one thinks, the more one has the taste (or desire, impulse, drive) of driving it") in French Quebec,[13] "We built our reputation by building a better car", "What to Drive", "The Beauty of All-Wheel Drive", "Driven by What's Inside", "Think, Feel, Drive", "Love. It's what makes Subaru, a Subaru" (USA early 2010s) and currently "Confidence in Motion" in North America, "All 4 The Driver" in Australia, and "Uncommon Engineering, Uncommon Stability, Uncommon Roadholding, Uncommon Sense" in the UK.[14]

As a result of this refocused advertising campaign, Subaru products began to attract a following among the young and educated, who saw the car as a practical alternative to the SUV craze. Subaru has historically been popular in the Northeastern United States as well as the Pacific Northwest. According to Automotive Lease Guide, Subaru ranked second place in vehicles that have the highest overall predicted resale values among all industry and all luxury vehicles for MY 2009.[15] The awards are derived after carefully studying segment competition, historical vehicle performance and industry trends. According to a study done by J.D. Power and Associates for the 2008 Customer Retention Study, Subaru ranked at 50.5%, which was above the national average of 48%.[16] Harman Kardon is currently the audio supplier for Subaru products worldwide.[17]

Hōkago no Pleiades (Original net animation)[edit]

Subaru launched an animation series Hōkago no Pleiades (放課後のプレアデス Hōkago no Pureadesu?, lit. 'After School Pleiades') developed jointly with Gainax. The 4-part mini episode series was released on YouTube on February 1, 2011. It featured a magical girl plot with Subaru as a leading protagonist.

Motorsports[edit]

Subaru Rally Team Japan led by Noriyuki Koseki (founder of Subaru Tecnica International, STI) ran Subaru Leone coupé, sedan DL, RX (SRX) and RX Turbo in the World Rally Championship between 1980 and 1989. Drivers for individual rallies included Ari Vatanen, Per Eklund, Shekhar Mehta, Mike Kirkland, Possum Bourne and Harald Demut. Mike Kirkland finished 6th overall and won the A Group at the 1986 Safari Rally. That year Subaru was one of the only manufacturers combining 4WD and turbo after Audi's successful quattro system had been introduced in 1980, but Audi withdrew from the WRC after safety concerns and Ford's serious accident early in the 1986 season. Subaru changed the rally model to Legacy RS for the 1990–1992 period and took part in the first complete season in the World Rally Championship with the same model in 1993.

Modified versions of the Impreza WRX and WRX STi have been competing successfully in rallying. Drivers Colin McRae (1995), Richard Burns (2001) and Petter Solberg (2003) have won World Rally Championship drivers' titles with the Subaru World Rally Team and Subaru took the manufacturers' title three years in a row from 1995 to 1997. Subaru's World Rally Championship cars are prepared and run by Prodrive, the highly successful British motorsport team. Several endurance records were set in the early and mid-nineties by the Subaru Legacy.

Subaru was briefly involved in Formula One circuit racing when it bought a controlling interest in the tiny Italian Coloni team for the 1990 season. The Coloni 3B's 12-cylinder engine was badged as a Subaru and shared the boxer layout with the company's own engines, but was an existing design built by Italian firm Motori Moderni. The cars were overweight and underpowered and the partnership broke down before the season finished.[18] With the rise of rally racing and the Import scene in the US, the introduction of the highly anticipated Subaru Impreza WRX in 2001 was successful in bringing high-performance AWD compact cars into the sports car mainstream. Subaru supplies a factory-backed team, Subaru Rally Team USA for Rally America and has won the driver's title six times, most recently in 2011 with David Higgins.[19]

On 4 May 2012, Subaru Rally Team USA announced that a new rallycross team, Subaru Puma Rallycross Team USA will participate in the 2012 Global RallyCross Championship season with Dave Mirra, Bucky Lasek, and Sverre Isachsen.[20]

On 16 December 2008, it was announced that Subaru would no longer be competing in the World Rally Championships.[21] The decision was made by Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), partly as a result of the economic downturn but also because it was felt Subaru had achieved its sporting and marketing objectives. Mr Ikuo Mori denied that alterations to the WRC technical regulations in 2010 or a rumoured deterioration in the working relationship with Prodrive had any impact on the decision. He also said that the possibility of a Subaru car back in the top category of WRC in the future is not zero, but for this moment there can be no assumption of a comeback.[22]

Starting in 2006, Subaru of America (SOA), as the official distributor of Subaru vehicles in the United States participates in the Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) with a Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Spec-B in the Grand-Am Street Tuner class. In 2010, SRRT campaigns a Subaru Impreza WRX STI in the Grand Sport class.[23] In 2011, SRRT switched from the hatchback to a 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI sedan.

Diesel[edit]

The 2007 Frankfurt International Motor Show saw Subaru introduce a horizontally opposed, water-cooled, common rail turbodiesel using a variable geometry turbocharger called the Subaru EE engine, the first of its type to be fitted to a passenger car. Volkswagen had experimented with this idea during the 1950s and made two air-cooled boxer prototype diesel engines that were not turbocharged. VW installed one engine in a Type 1 and another in a Type 2.[24]

The Subaru engine was rated at 110 kW (150 PS; 148 hp) and 350 N·m (260 ft·lbf) with a displacement of 2.0 litres. In March 2008 Subaru offered the Legacy sedan and wagon and the Outback wagon with 2.0 litre turbodiesel in the EU with a 5-speed manual transmission.[25][26]

In September 2008 Subaru announced that the diesel Forester and diesel Impreza will be introduced at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, with Forester sales to begin October 2008 and diesel Impreza sales to start January 2009.[27] The Forester and Impreza will have a 6-speed manual transmission, whereas the Legacy and Outback have 5-speed manual transmissions.

United States Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimated is:

City Ranges
32.7 mpg-US (7.2 L/100 km; 39.3 mpg-imp)
33.6 mpg-US (7.0 L/100 km; 40.4 mpg-imp)
Highway Ranges
45.2 mpg-US (5.20 L/100 km; 54.3 mpg-imp)
49.0 mpg-US (4.80 L/100 km; 58.8 mpg-imp)[28]

New technology[edit]

Since the 2005 model year, Subaru has adopted the Controller–area network (CAN) bus technology for the USA and Canada markets. Starting in the 2007 model year, all Subaru vehicles use the CAN technology.[citation needed] Typically, two CAN-buses are used on vehicles: a high-speed CAN running at 500 kbit/s for powertrain communication, and a low-speed CAN running at 125 kbit/s for body control functions and instrument panels. A body-integrated unit (BIU) is used between these two networks.

Historic cars[edit]

Environmental record[edit]

USA-spec Subaru Legacy PZEV

Subaru claims to have implemented advanced policies which include recycling, reducing harmful emissions, and educating their employees. Their efforts have helped them in their environmental initiatives. The Subaru plant in Lafayette, Indiana (SIA) was the first auto assembly plant to achieve zero landfill status;[29] nothing from the manufacturing process goes into a landfill. The company has developed a recycling plan for the "end-of-life" of their cars. Most of their modern products use highly recyclable materials throughout the vehicle, in the engine, transmission, suspension and elsewhere in each vehicle leaving Subaru with a 97.3% recycling ratio rate for their end-of-life vehicles.[30]

An excerpt from the Subaru website stated "In 2006, SIA was awarded the United States Environmental Protection Agency´s Gold Achievement Award as a top achiever in the agency's WasteWise program to reduce waste and improve recycling." The website also stated that "It also became the first U.S. automotive assembly plant to be designated a wildlife habitat."

Subaru currently offers a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) certified Legacy, Outback, Impreza[31] and Forester models[32] which are available for sale anywhere in the U.S. Subaru PZEV vehicles meet California's Super-Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle exhaust emission standard.[29] All other models have been certified LEV2.

Electric vehicles[edit]

In June 2006, Fuji Heavy Industries, Inc. (FHI) launched its Subaru Stella Plug-in electric vehicle which is a kei car equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack. The vehicle has a short range of 56 miles (90 km) but it actually costs more than the Mitsubishi iMiEV, at ¥4,380,000 (US$44,860), including Japanese Government consumption taxes with an exemption of $2,240. It will also qualify for a rebate from the Japanese Government of up to $14,200, bringing the price down to $30,660. The vehicle is much like the i-MiEV, with a 47-kilowatt motor and a quick-charge capability, but the two-door mini-car has a boxy shape. FHI plans to start delivery in late July and plans to sell 170 vehicles by March 2010.[33]

In Japan, Subaru is currently testing two electric vehicles called the Subaru G4e and the Subaru R1e.

The Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept is a four-seat vehicle with gull-wing doors that combines a 2-liter turbocharged direct-injection gasoline engine with a continuously variable transmission and two axle-mounted motors. A lithium-ion battery pack provides energy storage for the vehicle.[34]

Current models[edit]

North America/Europe/Oceania/Middle East/Asia/Japan Subaru models

The following models are sold in Asia and Europe. In Japan they are in the Kei car class with either front or all wheel drive and a straight engine:

An article posted by Autoblog on April 16, 2008 stated that due to the corporate investment by Toyota, all kei cars built by Subaru will be replaced by Daihatsu models beginning in 2010.[37]

Concept cars[edit]

December 4, 2007 saw an article claiming that Subaru was considering building a motorcycle called the Subaru HS500 with a single-cylinder 500 cc engine producing 50 hp (37 kW). Subaru HS500

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "World Motor Vehicle Production, Year 2012". OICA. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Nishitani, Yumiko (2008-04-11). "Japan's Fuji Heavy shares rally on expanded alliance with Toyota group". Thomson Financial News. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  3. ^ "Origins of Subaru name". Subaru-global.com. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  4. ^ "Fuji Rabbit.com". Fuji Rabbit.com. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  5. ^ "Inspiration of naming first Subaru vehicle". Subaru-global.com. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  6. ^ "Saab 9-6X Gets the Go-ahead". edmunds.com/insideline. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  7. ^ "Subaru plans new model revolution". autocar.co.uk/News. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  8. ^ "Saab Developing Smaller Crossover After Collapse of Subaru Alliance". edmunds.com. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  9. ^ Shimizu, Kaho (2005-10-06). "Toyota to buy Fuji shares in GM selloff". The Japan Times. 
  10. ^ a b "Subaru's company history, policies, attitudes, viewpoints, and basic info". Subaru of America, Inc. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  11. ^ "Subaru - About Us > News and Events" (Press release). Motor Image, Philippines. 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  12. ^ "Motor Image PH to open 4 new Subaru dealerships in 2013". Top Gear Philippines. 2012-12-08. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  13. ^ Subaru Legacy Canada sales brochure printed January 1990
  14. ^ Korzeniewski, Jeremy (2008-04-25). "''What really makes a Subaru a Subaru? Love?''". AutoBlog.com. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  15. ^ https://www.alg.com/Newsroom?pid=92 Automotive Lease Guide announcement for MY 2009
  16. ^ "2008 Customer Retention Study | J.D. Power and Associates". Jdpower.com. 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  17. ^ "Subaru Audio – Harman/Kardon". Subaru.com. Retrieved 2013-11-11. 
  18. ^ Subaru Performance magazine version 4.3
  19. ^ "David Higgins Wins 2011 Rally America National Championship". vtcar.com. 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2012-05-21. 
  20. ^ "Drivers & Teams". GRC. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  21. ^ "Subaru pull out of World Rallying". BBC News. 2008-12-16. 
  22. ^ "Subaru doesn’t rule out WRC return". WRC. 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  23. ^ 1 February 2010 05:21:34 (2010-02-01). "Subaru Impreza WRX STI SRRT racecars". Carsession.com. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  24. ^ "The Diesel Beetle". ltv-vwc.org.uk. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  25. ^ "Geneva Motor Show: Subaru diesel boxer engine". autobloggreen.com. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  26. ^ "Subaru's 2.0L Turbodiesel Boxer – 110kW/147hp". 
  27. ^ Neff, John (2008-09-05). "Euro-spec Impreza diesel introduction". Autoblog.com. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  28. ^ "Subaru Boxer Turbodiesel – Specifications – First Drive – Truck Trend". trucktrend.com. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  29. ^ a b "Subaru's environmental record". Subaru.com. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  30. ^ "Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. > CSR / Environment > Environmental Report |Automobile Recycling". Fhi.co.jp. 2005-01-01. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  31. ^ "2012 Subaru Impreza Sedan 2.0i PZEV Price With Options". Edmunds.com. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  32. ^ "It's What Makes a Subaru, a Subaru: Controlling Emissions - Part Two". Drive2.subaru.com. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  33. ^ "EERE News: Mitsubishi and Subaru Launch Electric Cars in Japan". US Department of Energy. 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  34. ^ "EERE News: Honda CR-Z Concept Hybrid Debuts at the Tokyo Motor Show". US Department of Energy. 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  35. ^ Colwell, K.C. "2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  36. ^ Goodwin, Antuan (2014-02-18). "2015 Subaru WRX STI Preview". CNET. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  37. ^ Gardiner, Justin (2008-04-16). "Subaru to stop making Kei Cars". Autoblog. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 

External links[edit]