Subaru Global

All Subaru vehicles around the globe are manufactured by Subaru Corporation (previously Fuji Heavy Industries) – a global engineering and transportation corporation. Subaru Corporation has a fascinating background. In 1917, a visionary engineer named Chikuhei Nakajima, set up the Aircraft Research Laboratory, Japan’s first private aircraft designer and manufacturer. In 1931, it was reorganised as Nakajima Aircraft Company Ltd and grew to become Japan’s foremost aircraft maker.

Production of military aircraft ceased and Nakajima was reorganized as Fuji Sangyo Co Ltd to make motor scooters, consumer goods, petrol engines and industrial equipment.

In 1953, five Fuji companies established a joint enterprise, FHI (now Subaru Corporation) to produce aircraft, specifically, the T-34A Trainers. In 1957, FHI completed the first Japanese-made jet aircraft, the T-1 Jet Trainer. To diversify into consumer goods, a division within the group - Fuji Automobile - began exploring the automotive field and in 1954 completed the development of an advanced 1.5-litre compact car. Although officially called P-1, it was in fact the first Subaru. Unfortunately the demand for private cars was so small that FHI Directors voted against proceeding with production.

Following market research and lessons learned in the development of the P-1, a different approach was taken and the Subaru 360 became the first mass-produced FHI built vehicle in 1958– a milestone vehicle that established Subaru as a builder of small, affordable, yet technologically advanced cars.

The word Subaru comes from the Japanese name for the constellation known in the Western world as Taurus. The constellation’s cluster of stars represented the five companies that merged in 1953 to form FHI.

FInd out about the meaning of Subaru, and the Pleiades constellation.