Founded in Japan in 1935, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. is the parent corporation for the Subaru automotive brand. The 5 companies of Fuji Kogyo, Fuji Jidosha, Omiya Fuji Kogyo, Utsunomiya Sharyo, and Tokyo Fuji Sangyo all joined together to create Fuji Heavy Industries, which has prospered greatly ever since.
Unlike many automotive manufacturers, there’s not much in the way of a single founder for Subaru. No one man or woman is credited with instigating the merger. Instead, there’s an emphasis on collaboration. This same sense of teamwork pervades the Subaru brand and logo as well. Just check out almost any Subaru commercial: love and what’s inside are crucial parts of the brand’s main values.
Why is it Called Subaru?
“Subaru” means “united” in Japanese, but it is also a term used to refer to the Pleiades star formation. The 5 companies that merged together to create Fuji Heavy Industries are represented in the 5 smaller stars, while the biggest star represents Fuji Heavy Industries itself. Subaru was the first brand to use a Japanese word as its name.
Subaru of America was incorporated in 1968 by Harvey Lamm and Malcolm Bricklin. Located in Pennsylvania, the company was created to sell Subaru cars, and did so well that Fuji Heavy Industries acquired it in 1990. The one millionth Subaru was sold in 1983, only 15 years after Subaru of America was first established.
Signifying the automotive division of Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru grew exponentially and the name eventually took over. Just recently, Fuji Heavy Industries officially changed its name to the Subaru Corporation, capitalizing fully on the loyalty and profit therein. So even though most Subaru parts are stamped Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru is now the official name.
SEE ALSO: Why is Mazda Called Mazda?
A New Yet Controversial Market
Every car brand has its associations, ranging in good to bad, but Subaru is one of the few to actually capitalize on those societal values. In the 1990s, Subaru marketing executives identified a few different audiences for their AWD, rugged, and capable vehicles. As you might imagine, types like teachers, health-care professionals, and outdoorsmen and women were prime targets.
But one of those groups was lesbians.
While it might surprise some, it certainly didn’t faze the Subaru marketing team. Choosing to run with the identification of a select collection of customers, Subaru began running commercials to target lesbians and the gay community. Certain license plates would appear in advertisements, and yet the brand never took the identification to a negative level. In fact, Subaru is a brand often cited as stepping forward with an open mind.
Rally It Up!
The world of rally car racing is rife with Subaru logos and wins. Subaru Rally Team USA won the 2001 SCCA ProRally Overall Manufacturer’s Champion title, and continues to push the limits of their scrappy, off-road beasts. Most people don’t realize that Subaru did once offer truck and van models, but they quickly realized the market demand for AWD and off-road capable vehicles. In fact, Subaru’s reputation is so widespread that today, most people associate AWD as a main selling point.
What do you think makes a Subaru a Subaru?
Rebecca Henderson is the published author and professional editor at The Kreativ Space. Best expressing herself through the written word, she enjoys the smell of burning rubber as well. Rebecca hopes to shift your world perspective through her words, because looking out the same window every day hardly makes for an interesting life.