Subaru is a 108-year old motor vehicle manufacturer owned by Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), based in Tokyo, Japan. Their first car, the P-1, was officially named the Subaru 1500 by FHI’s first CEO, Kenji Kita. The name, in Japanese, means to unite or gather together but is also the name given to a star cluster in the constellation Taurus, called Pleiades in the West, in which six bright stars are visible to the naked eye. The fact that FHI was initially comprised of six separate businesses coming together may have had a bearing on the name choice, and anyone familiar with the logo on all Subaru cars will recognize the six bright stars on a blue background.
The Japanese car maker is known for their use of flat, horizontally-opposed boxer engines, a design originally patented by Karl Benz in 1896. When first exported to America in 1968, the brand became known as inexpensive, quirky looking, economical and well-engineered. Most of those attributes live on today, except for quirky looking.
5 remarkable facts about Subaru
Today, Subaru cars are still at the top of the industry, staying at the forefront of safety standards and engineering. Here are a few things you might not know about the company:
The Japanese car maker was the first to introduce a drive technology that coupled a horizontally opposed engine with front wheel drive, enhancing both performance and handling.
The company introduced on-demand 4-wheel (4WD) drive at a time when this configuration was seen primarily on off-road vehicles. This innovation captured a whole new market of customers including outdoorsy weekend adventurers wanting to have the option of having a family car that could also go off-road.
New-Type Transmission Subaru cars were the first ever to offer a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that was controlled electronically, maximizing performance, efficiency and fuel economy.
All-wheel drive (AWD) for cars was pioneered by the auto maker and, today, almost every model features this technology, making these cars safer to drive and better handling than standard two-wheel drive.v
Environmental Conscience, creating cars that are close to 100% recyclable and that conform to California’s strict emission control standards for all U.S. markets sets the company apart environmentally. They were also the first to achieve a zero landfill rating by the EPA at their Lafayette, Indiana assembly plant, now designated a wildlife habitat.
Most Popular Subaru Models
When the all-new 2012 BRZ went on sale in Australia all cars were sold out in three hours. This front-engine, rear-wheel drive is a break from tradition but has certainly captured drivers’ attention. The strong sellers among the many models the company has produced over the years are the Legacy, Impreza, Outback and Forester, all great cars worth a drive.