'SUBARU' is a Japanese word meaning 'unite', as well as a term identifying a cluster of six stars, which the Greeks called the Pleiades - part of the Taurus constellation.
According to Greek mythology, Atlas' daughters turned into this group of stars. In 1953, five Japanese companies merged to form Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. The new corporation adopted the 'Subaru' cluster of stars as the official logo for its line of automobiles.
Subaru of America, Inc.
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., (FHI), traces its corporate lineage back to Nakajima Aircraft Company, which was founded in 1917. In 1953, five Japanese companies joined to form FHI, which has grown to become one of Japan's largest manufacturers of transportation equipment. Worldwide, FHI employs more than 15,000 people, has nine manufacturing plants and sells its products in 100 countries.
Best known for its Subaru automobiles, FHI also manufactures commercial and military aircraft and aircraft parts, engines and machinery, buses and rolling stock. The company has a long history as a technological innovator and boasts some of the most diversified and advanced all-wheel drive (AWD) technologies in the world.
Using its advanced research and development capabilities, FHI applies much of its aircraft technology to the company's highly successful automotive division. Prime among these technology transfers is its horizontally opposed 'Boxer' engine and its monocoque body construction.
FHI's Subaru division was the first Japanese auto maker to offer front-wheel drive passenger cars in Japan (1965) and four-wheel drive passenger cars in the world (1972). Fuji's first car, the 1958 Subaru 360 Minicar, utilized a variety of new technologies. It was the breakthrough in the Japanese auto industry that helped the company expand into the arena of passenger car production. Today, the reliability of the Subaru brand name is reflected in the more than 10 million vehicles sold to satisfied customers worldwide.
In 1984, FHI's technological leadership continued when it introduced the electronic continuously variable transmission (ECTV), a technology that replaces standard gears and gives both exceptionally smooth and responsive acceleration as well as better fuel economy than conventional automatic or manual transmissions.
FHI has seven automotive manufacturing plants worldwide, five of which are based in Japan. The Subaru-Isuzu Automotive, Inc., (SIA), plant in Lafayette, Ind. and Ta Ching Motors Co., Ltd., a manufacturing plant in Taiwan, ensure that a stable supply of Subaru vehicles are manufactured locally and are specifically suited to these markets.
FHI has four divisions that support each other in technological research and advancement:
- Automobile: Under the Subaru name since 1958, FHI manufactures and markets Subaru automobiles to 100 countries via its 1,970 dealers worldwide.
- Aerospace: This division is a major contractor of aircraft, helicopters, target drones and related parts and services to the Defense Agency of Japan. Sales of the Aerospace Division are both commercial and defense-related. These products are marketed domestically to the Defense Agency as well as United States markets.
- Industrial Products: This division produces Robin brand equipment including generators, water pumps and engines for industrial, agricultural and recreational applications with main markets in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
- Transportation Equipment: This division develops double- and high-decker buses, luxury tour buses and inner city buses, which are exported primarily to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Domestically, FHI's principal products are buses (46 percent of divisional sales) and rolling stock (32 percent). Other major product categories include garbage or sanitation trucks and prefabricated housing.