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Subaru Family Shot


Company History

Founded in Philadelphia in 1968 by two Philadelphia entrepreneurs, Subaru of America (SOA) forged an alliance with Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) of Tokyo and became the exclusive U.S. importer of its Subaru brand of vehicles.

Prior to 1990, SOA was the only American-operated import car company whose stock was traded publicly on the NASDAQ®. On August 31, 1990, FHI, SOA’s major manufacturing partner, purchased the majority share of SOA’s stock. SOA then became a wholly owned subsidiary of FHI.

FHI’s home factory in Ota City, Japan, and Subaru-Indiana Automotive, Inc. (SIA), located near Lafayette, Ind., manufacture all U.S.-marketed vehicles.

Subaru time line

2007
  • Subaru unveils redesigned 2008 Legacy and Outback at the 2007 North American International Auto Show.
  • Subaru unveils the redesigned, newly named 2008 Subaru Tribeca and debuts Tribeca’s new 3.6-liter H6 engine at the New York International Auto Show.
  • Subaru debuts all-new 2008 Impreza 2.5i and WRX at the New York International Auto Show.

2006
  • Subaru showcases the B5-TPH, a hybrid concept vehicle, at the North American International Auto Show.
  • Subaru reveals the 2007 B9 Tribeca Special Edition at the Chicago Auto Show.
  • Subaru introduces “It’s What Makes a Subaru, a Subaru” advertising campaign and tagline.
  • Subaru unveils the 2007 Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B performance sedan and 2007 Impreza WRX STI Limited model at the New York International Auto Show.
  • Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive) also makes its debut on all 2007 turbo models. This key new technology enhances driving engagement by allowing the driver to select the level of engine performance.

2005
  • Subaru introduces the B9 Tribeca at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Subaru’s first seven-passenger vehicle.
  • Subaru launches “Think.Feel.Drive.” advertising campaign and tagline.
  • Subaru introduces the 2006 Forester with refreshed exterior styling at the New York Auto Show.
  • Subaru introduces redesigned 2006 Subaru Impreza model line.

2004
  • Subaru showcases two alternate-propulsion concept vehicles at the North American International Auto Show.
  • Subaru introduces the turbocharged Legacy 2.5GT at the North American International Auto Show.
  • Subaru introduces the third-generation, fully redesigned, re-engineered Outback models line at the Chicago Auto Show.
  • Subaru unveils all-new Forester 2.5XS L.L.Bean® Edition at the New York Auto Show.
  • Subaru partners with National Brotherhood of Skiers, becomes official vehicle and sponsor of the Subaru Driven by What’s Inside Athlete of the Year Award.
  • Subaru named official vehicle in partnership with the National Gardening Association.
  • Subaru names New York-based DDB New York the advertising agency of record.

2003
  • Subaru of America, Inc. introduces Baja Turbo, a third version and higher-performance version of the Subaru Baja at the New York Auto Show.
  • Subaru of America, Inc. introduces Forester 2.5 XT, a new higher-performance version of its popular Forester sport-utility vehicle at the Chicago Auto Show.
  • Subaru introduces the 2004 Impreza WRX STI at the North American International Auto Show.
  • Subaru introduces Baja Sport, a second version and more stripped down version of the Crossover Vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
  • Subaru B11S concept car makes world premiere at the Geneva International Auto Show.
  • Subaru signs Lance Armstrong as advertising spokesperson and launches “Driven by What’s Inside” advertising campaign and tagline.
  • Subaru Rally Team USA loses driver Mark Lovell and co-driver Roger Freeman in tragic rally accident.
  • Subaru partners with Nordica USA to enhance Subaru Master the Mountain program.
  • Subaru introduces performance parts line including Subaru Technica International (STI) and Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT) to the public.
  • Subaru records unit sales of 186,819, making 2003 the best sales year ever.
  • 2003 was the most financially successful in the company’s history; revenue reached $4.2 billion, an all-time record.

2002
  • Subaru introduces all-new Baja crossover vehicle at the North American International Auto Show.
  • Subaru unveils fully redesigned Forester at the Chicago Auto Show.
  • Subaru realigns and refines Legacy model line for 2003.
  • Subaru Outback gets refreshed styling and offers OnStar®.
  • Subaru launches 2003 Baja micro site.
  • Subaru launches “When You Get it, You Get it” advertising campaign.
  • Subaru becomes the title sponsor of the Subaru Primal Quest adventure race and forms the Subaru Adventure Race Team.
  • Subaru of America, Inc. recorded sales of 180,020 units and revenue of $4.1 billion.

2001
  • Subaru unveils the all new Impreza WRX Sedan and Sport Wagon at the North American International Auto Show.
  • Subaru debuts Outback H6-3.0 VDC Sedan at the New York Auto Show.
  • Subaru introduces the Subaru Rally Team USA at the New York Auto Show.
  • Subaru forges partnership with Sports Car Club of America.
  • Subaru launches “Driving Performance” ad campaign for the WRX.
  • Subaru Rally Team USA captures the 2001 SCCA ProRally Overall Manufacturer’s Champion Title.
  • Subaru announces production of a vehicle based on the ST-X concept car.
  • Subaru of America, Inc. partners with Gary Fisher Bicycles and becomes the primary sponsor of the Subaru Gary Fisher Mountain Bike Racing Team.
  • Subaru records unit sales of 185,944, making 2001 the best sales year ever.
  • 2001 was the most financially successful in the company’s history; revenue reached $4.2 billion, an all-time record.

2000
  • Subaru unveils the ST-X concept car in January at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
  • Subaru introduces the redesigned 2001 model year Forester in January at the NAIAS in Detroit. The models arrive in dealerships in summer 2000.
  • Subaru becomes official car of the LPGA.
  • Subaru sponsors Philadelphia’s National Liberty Museum.
  • Subaru and L.L.Bean form marketing partnership.
  • Subaru introduces L.L.Bean H6 Special Edition Outback and H6 VDC Outback in April at the New York Auto Show. The models arrive in October 2000.
  • Subaru of America debuts the “What do I Know” advertising campaign, featuring Martina Navratilova.
  • Subaru and Specialized bicycles form partnership.
  • The 2000 model year Subaru Legacy earns highest rating in its class in the IIHS high-speed crash test.
  • Subaru sponsors a variety of activities for the Republican National Convention.
  • Subaru announces production of a vehicle based on the ST-X concept car.
  • Subaru records unit sales of 172,216, making 2000 the best total sales year since 1987.
  • 2000 was the most financially successful in the company's history; revenue reached $3.7 billion, an all-time record.

1999
  • Subaru introduces the redesigned Outback and Outback Sedan in January at the NAIAS in Detroit. The models arrive in dealerships in July.
  • Subaru introduces the Legacy GT sedan and wagon at the New York International Auto Show in March. The models arrive in dealerships in July.
  • Subaru donates the full use of 30 cars to not-for-profit organizations in the greater Philadelphia area.
  • Subaru of America, Inc. sponsors of VH1 Save the Music.
  • Subaru becomes the title sponsor of the Subaru Memorial of Naples – an LPGA tour event.
  • Subaru becomes official sponsor of newly formed Masters Rowing Association and Fischer Salomon Subaru Factory Cross Country Ski Team.
  • Subaru records unit sales of 156,806, making 1999 the best total sales year since 1988.
  • Subaru has most successful year in the company’s history; revenue reached an all-time record of $3.3 billion.
  • The Financial Times Automotive Magazine names Subaru the “Most Improved Car Company in the World.”

1998
  • Subaru introduces Legacy Sport Utility Sedan at the North American International Auto Show.
  • Subaru celebrates 30 years in the U.S. (2-15-98).
  • Subaru joins National Low Emission Vehicle Program (1999 MY).
  • Subaru sells 3 millionth Subaru vehicle in U.S. (3-16-98).
  • Subaru becomes the official car of the American Association of Snowboard Instructors.
  • 1999 Subaru Legacy SUS wins “Rally of Lost Patrol.”
  • Subaru and Specialized team up to sponsor “Subaru Women’s Mountain Biking Clinics.”
  • Subaru donates “30 cars to 30 causes” to support local not-for-profit organizations that surround the company’s corporate headquarters in the greater Philadelphia area.
  • Subaru and HEAD USA team up to sponsor Women’s Ski Clinics.
  • Subaru Forester is the only vehicle to receive a “good” rating among 10 small SUVs tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  • Subaru and Panoz Motorsports unite to create the Subaru-Panoz Performance Driving School at Road Atlanta.
  • The company records unit sales of 147,833 and topped $3 billion in revenue for the first time in its history.

1997
  • Subaru introduces the new ’98 MY models: the all-new Forester hybrid utility vehicle and the rally-inspired Impreza 2.5 RS 2-Door Coupe.
  • Subaru’s 11 percent sales increase over ’96 CY leads industry with a two-year sales growth of +31 percent.
  • Subaru posts best financial performance in its 29-year history.
  • Subaru becomes best-selling wagon – import or domestic – for second consecutive year.
  • Subaru recognized for creating best dealer attitude in its history, according to NADA.
  • Subaru enters into a partnership with the National Forest Foundation that will improve conservation efforts in our nation’s forests.
  • The company launches its Loyalty MasterCard® Program – available exclusively from MBNA America Bank – the only card that rewards customers with discount points to be applied toward the purchase or lease of a new Subaru vehicle.
  • Subaru joins the world of professional golf as the first-ever title sponsor of the 1997 Subaru Sarazen World Open.

1996
  • Subaru records 14 consecutive months of sales increases.
  • Subaru posts the largest year-over-year sales increase among all car companies with annual sales of more than 100,000 units.
  • Subaru total sales up 20.3 percent over 1995 while the industry average decreased 1.2 percent.
  • Subaru posts best retail year since 1988 and largest year-over-year retail since 1979.
  • Subaru posts its third consecutive year of retail sales increases.
  • Subaru introduces the new ’97 MY models: the Outback Impreza Sport and Outback Limited.
  • In October, Subaru launches the official Web site of Subaru of America, Inc., subaru.com.
  • Subaru enters new marketing partnerships with Specialized Bicycle Components and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and is designated the “Official Car” of both organizations.
  • Subaru sells its 5,000th Right-Hand Drive Subaru Legacy Wagon.
  • For the third consecutive year, a leading consumer products review magazine has rated 100 percent Subaru models as “Recommended.” For 1996, the only other manufacturers to earn this distinction were Lexus, Infiniti, and Volvo.
  • Subaru Legacy earned the distinction of the best-selling wagon in America (based on The Polk Company retail registration statistics as of 12/31/96).

1995
  • Subaru posts its second consecutive year of retail sales increases.
  • For the first time ever, Subaru Legacy Wagon outsells the Ford Taurus Wagon and becomes the best-selling wagon in its class.
  • Subaru introduces two new ’96 MY models: the sporty Legacy 2.5 GT and the Outback – “The World’s First Sport Utility Wagon.”
  • In July, Subaru engine assembly operations begin a U.S. joint-venture manufacturing plant, Subaru-Isuzu Automotive, Inc. (SIA), Lafayette, Ind.
  • For the first time, 100 percent of the Legacy models sold in North America were built in the U.S.
  • Subaru begins new partnerships with the National Ski Patrol and the Professional Ski Instructors of America and ends its 20-year association as the “Official Car” of the U.S. Ski Team.
  • Subaru develops several cross-functional management teams to address issues such as claims, vehicle delivery, and customer and dealer strategies.

1994
  • Subaru names Dallas-based Temerlin McClain advertising agency of record.
  • In July, Subaru introduces the all-new Legacy (MY ’95) to the U.S. market following the car’s tremendous success in Japan.
  • Subaru begins U.S. production of the Legacy (MY ’95) in late March.
  • In August, Subaru introduces the Impreza Coupe (MY ’95) – designed and produced exclusively for the American market.
  • Subaru introduces the Limited Edition Outback Wagon (MY ’95), a new version of the Legacy station wagon.
  • Subaru achieves its best retail sales year in seven years, outselling 12 other import nameplates including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, and Volkswagen.
  • In August, Subaru sells its 1 millionth all-wheel drive vehicle.

1993
  • Subaru celebrates its 25th anniversary of selling vehicles in the U.S.
  • The West Coast port of entry expands and moves from Portland, Ore., to Vancouver, Wash.
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Subaru launches an all-new subcompact – Subaru Impreza – along with limited production of the 25th-anniversary versions of Legacy and SVX models.
  • All-Wheel Drive Subaru Legacy rated No. 1 in owner satisfaction in Consumer Reports 1994 Yearbook.

1991
  • Subaru introduces its first performance luxury coupe, the 1992 (MY) Subaru SVX.
  • Subaru markets a right-hand drive compact Legacy station wagon with all-wheel drive to U.S. rural letter carriers.
  • Subaru conducts an advertising agency search and selects Portland-based Wieden & Kennedy. This was the company’s first ad agency change in 17 years.

1990
  • Long-time Japanese manufacturing partner Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. acquires Subaru of America, Inc. on August 31.

1989
  • In January, the Subaru Legacy sets two world and 13 international endurance and speed records.
  • Subaru continues to dominate the four-wheel drive passenger car market, having more four-wheel drive registrations than all other makes combined.
  • The first two vehicles built at SIA – a Subaru Legacy and Isuzu Pickup – roll off the assembly line on September 11.

1988
  • The company introduces (October 1) the Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT) in the Subaru Justy, the only car sold in the U.S. with this feature.

1987
  • Ground breaking for construction of the SIA plant, a 2.3-million-square-foot assembly operation, begins May 14. This $500 million facility is the first joint venture between FHI and Isuzu. FHI holds 51 percent interest and Isuzu holds 49 percent interest.
  • Initial plans call for production of 60,000 Subaru cars and 60,000 Isuzu trucks annually.
  • The plant has three objectives: neutralize the effects of international fluctuations; offset U.S. protectionist sentiments; and provide Subaru with a major presence in the Midwest, a large market with strong sales potential for Subaru.
  • Subaru Justy
  • Subaru introduces the U.S. to the Justy, the first modern mini-car from a Japanese importer.
  • BRAT model production for the U.S. market ceases in July.
  • In June, Subaru set an all-time sales record by posting 15,000 unit sales for the month.
  • For the calendar year, Subaru becomes the best retail-selling wagon, import or domestic.

1986
  • Subaru sales hit $1.9 billion, an increase of 29 percent over 1985; net income increased 22 percent over 1985 levels to $94 million.
  • Fuji establishes a U.S. design center adjacent to the Subaru Technical Center in Garden Grove, Calif., where Fuji personnel still work to tailor their products to American tastes.
  • In its 39th annual survey of U.S. companies, Forbes ranked Subaru sixth in profitability with a 49.9 percent five-year average return on equity. SOA becomes the only company surveyed to rank in the top 10 in profitability in each of the previous eight years.
  • Subaru registers more four-wheel drive passenger cars than all other makes combined.
  • Subaru of America moves into its new $18 million, seven-story corporate headquarters on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, N.J., just outside Philadelphia.
  • The Subaru wagon becomes the No. 1 wagon model in the U.S. with recorded 1985 owner registrations higher than any domestically made model and 30 percent more registrations than the next highest Japanese model.
  • Subaru’s auto sales efforts in the U.S. face limits because of Voluntary Restraint Agreements. Japanese auto manufacturers agree to place ceilings on their exports to the U.S.
  • Fuji announces an agreement with Isuzu Motors Limited to jointly construct a $500 million manufacturing and auto assembly plant near Lafayette, Ind.
  • Subaru wins the Clio award for best automotive commercial for “You Always Hurt the One You Love.”

1985
  • Subaru reaches its 10th consecutive year of record-setting earnings and sales; net income for the year was $77.1 million, a 28 percent increase over the previous year; record annual sales are $1.5 billion, compared to the previous record of $1.18 billion set in 1984.
  • Forbes ranks Subaru fourth highest in profitability in its annual survey of more than 1,000 companies.
  • Customers rate Subaru the best in customer satisfaction among all Japanese and U.S. makes in J.D. Power surveys for the second consecutive year.
  • Subaru unveils the XT Coupe, bringing Subaru to the industry forefront of aerodynamic design.

1984
  • Subaru establishes the Subaru of America Foundation (SOAF) in response to the communities’ growing social, cultural, and educational needs.
  • Subaru ranks No. 1 in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power surveys among all Japanese and U.S. makes. Among all autos, the only car rated higher was Mercedes-Benz.
  • Subaru introduces the Subaru Coupe to appeal to a more sophisticated buyer.
  • The company’s earnings grow at a compound rate of 34 percent between 1980 and 1985 despite restrictions by the Japanese government on sales to the U.S.

1983
  • SOA celebrates its 15th anniversary and sells its 1 millionth Subaru in the U.S.
  • Sales exceed $1 billion for the first time. Earnings reach record levels for the eighth consecutive year, totaling $49.5 million.
  • Forbes magazine rated Subaru of America, Inc. fourth in profitability in a survey of 1,000 U.S. companies.
  • Independent survey ranks Subaru car salesmen industry’s best in product knowledge.

1982
  • Subaru introduces the GL-10 Hardtop Coupe.
  • The Subaru Technical Center relocates to Garden Grove, Calif.

1981
  • Subaru announces the formation of Subaru Financial Services, Inc., the first financial service subsidiary of an import automobile company. The subsidiary provides extended service contracts, retail automobile financing, credit insurance, and dealer inventory financing.
  • Subaru car sales continue to climb 23 percent to $916 million despite Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry agreement to voluntarily limit the number of automobiles exported to the U.S. for a two-year period.

1980
  • Subaru celebrates its fifth consecutive fiscal year of record sales and profitability with sales reaching $744 million – a 35 percent gain – and net income of $17.7 million.
  • Subaru introduces its “Hill Holder?,” which prevents its manual transmission models from rolling backward when stopped on a hill.
  • Subaru becomes the first automobile company to offer optional four-wheel drive in all car models.
  • SOA introduces turbo-traction, the first 4WD turbo-charged Subaru.

1979
  • Subaru’s net profit and its subsidiaries reach $10.4 million (a 45 percent increase over the previous year), on sales of $550 million for the 1979 fiscal year.

1978
  • With 335,000 Subaru vehicles on the roads, sales in replacement parts and accessories increase 130 percent.
  • For its expanding parts and accessories business, Subaru plans a new 120,000-square-foot parts warehouse and distribution depot to be completed in 1979 in Carson, Calif.
  • Subaru sales increase 86 percent to $440 million with a 65 percent increase in net income of $7.2 million.
  • The DL four-door model is nominated as Motor Trend magazine’s “1978 Car of the Year.”
  • The BRAT won the “Excellence in Engineering Award” by Off-Road magazine.

1977
Subaru BRAT
  • Subaru introduces the BRAT, a small dual-range 4WD vehicle with two bucket seats fixed to the open-bed back. Aimed at the recreational market away from the Snow Belt. The vehicle’s “fun and sun” concept targets younger consumers.
  • Subaru ranks fifth highest selling imported automobile in the country, with annual sales of $236.7 million, an increase of 42 percent over the previous year.

1976
  • Subaru jumps to sixth place in U.S. sales of imported vehicles.
  • Subaru set sales and earnings records – sales reach $166.3 million, a 98 percent increase over the previous year’s $83.9 million.
  • Subaru and the U.S. Ski Team begin a partnership. The U.S. Ski Team adopts the Subaru 4WD station wagon as its “Official Car.”
  • Subaru unveils the theme “Inexpensive and built to stay that way.”

1975
  • Road Test magazine named the Subaru GF model “1975 Import Car of the Year.”
  • Subaru focuses on the conservative rural market until it develops a new approach – cars that appealed to active lifestyle buyers such as skiers and outdoors enthusiasts.

1974
  • Subaru launches the Subaru 4WD wagon, the first four-wheel drive passenger car, the only one of its type in the U.S. The car establishes the company as the leading 4WD niche marketer.

1973
  • Subaru begins reporting substantial profit margins and the company moves into the top 10 U.S. automotive imports for the first time with a limited product line – just three cars.
  • Lamm travels to Japan to convince Fuji that U.S. markets need cars with more style and features. While there, he spots a front-wheel drive station wagon that was being used by Japan's rural electric companies. The wagon converted to four-wheel drive at the flick of a lever and Lamm knew it could attract U.S. consumers.

1972
  • Subaru of America, Inc. first public offering of its stock on May 24.

1970
  • As the 1100 series was introduced in Japan, Lamm decided to concentrate on the rural U.S. markets because front-wheel drive did not interest urban drivers. He argued better-handling front-wheel drive cars could attract rural consumers.

1968
360
  • On February 15, Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) was incorporated in Pennsylvania. Two entrepreneurs without auto experience, Harvey Lamm and Malcolm Bricklin, founded the company as the exclusive U.S. sales and marketing company for Subaru autos. SOA became the only American operated and publicly owned import car company.
  • SOA common stock was underwritten by Stotter & Co., Inc. Prior to the offering, the corporation had a net worth of $12,000.
  • The first car, the Subaru 360 mini, was introduced in the U.S. Powered by a two-stroke engine, the Subaru 360 got 66.3 miles per gallon and sold for $1,297.