Subaru (Japaneseスバル) is a Japanese automobile brand of the company Fuji Heavy Industries ( FHI). Although Subaru is the largest manufacturer of all-wheel drive cars, it is compared to many of its competitors in the automotive sector is very small, but still highly profitable for years.

Subaru was next Jeep and Land Rover the only brand whose vehicles were delivered in Germany exclusively with all-wheel drive, to the introduced in the fall of 2007 Justy ended this tradition.

  • 7.1 Timeline
  • 7.2 Europe, Japan and USA
  • 7.3 studies

Origin of the logo

The first vehicle of FHI was built in 1954 and named after the star cluster Pleiades, which in Japanese is called Subaru (literally, get together ). In Germany we call the Pleiades Pleiades even, however, the number of recognizable star depends on the observing conditions. In Japan, you see the six brightest stars as the constellation of Subaru, so that the logo of Subaru only has these six. The model was chosen because of the star clusters from time immemorial is known in Japan and the company FHI once merged six different companies.


Despite the low market share Subaru is ADAC motor world constantly out in the lists of journals such as etc. for years when it comes to reliability, workmanship and satisfaction in the highest ranks. Also applicable as durable cars by Subaru in the statistics for the main study of TÜV cut from generally good.

Subaru is the world's largest and most successful manufacturer of all-wheel drive car, it has been sold by 2008, over ten million four-wheel vehicles.

Although Subaru is a very small producer compared to competitors and therefore has a correspondingly small budget for development, Subaru puts great emphasis on house designs. Subaru is known for its vehicles with permanent all-wheel drive, the Subaru as Symmetrical AWD referred to (a reference to the symmetrical design of the all-wheel drive ), and for the use of boxer engines that contribute to the low overall height to a low center of gravity of the vehicle and by the maximum design good mass balance are very quiet. Since 2008, Subaru also leads a diesel engine in the program. It is a boxer engine with 2.0 liter displacement and common rail injection and is to date the world's only diesel in this design.

The vehicles were fitted by Subaru from 1985 mostly with a Hill Start Assist ( Hill Holder ).

A special feature is the fact that with the exception of the WRX and GT versions of the Subaru Impreza, the Subaru diesel models and the Trezia all offered in Europe Subaru cars with manual transmission with a low range gearing (reduction) are equipped. This is a unique selling point over other manufacturers of all-terrain vehicles, otherwise only SUV are equipped with a gear reduction.

Typical for Subaru were also the frameless side windows, but which since 2009 is omitted for safety reasons completely.

For several years, could Subaru vehicles of all series will be delivered on request with an LPG system from the factory. In recurring actions Subaru offered this ecomatic versions given to customers also at no extra cost. However, the LPG conversion is no longer in the program, inter alia, due to the presence of a diesel engine supply and Homologationsprobleme for the Euro 5 emission standard.

In the 1990s, Subaru acquired the naming rights of the Blitzen- Benz from Mercedes. Since then, several sporting special models of the Subaru Legacy was produced. The name is a myth in Japan, the Legacy Blitzen models so enjoy cult status.

History of all-wheel drive

In 1972, Subaru introduced the Subaru Leone 4WD Station Wagon the first mass-produced car in the world with all-wheel drive before. The vehicle was, as usual Subaru equipped with a piston engine. Attributed this offer was on the invitation of a Japanese supplier who needed a compact car with four-wheel drive in order to also check outlying electricity and supply lines and wait can. Subaru won this tender and it was decided to bring the car on the regular consumer market. Only eight years later, in 1980, Audi introduced the Audi quattro, a large series road car with permanent four-wheel drive on the market. At Subaru of permanent all-wheel drive was introduced in 1987 with the Subaru XT. By 1994, one of the two techniques was, depending on the model used, from 1994, only the permanent all-wheel drive, which has since been referred to as AWD. The turbo Leone since 1987, there was, however, with permanent four-wheel drive, as automatic version 4EAT and as a 5- speed manual gearbox with a lockable center differential. However, the Leone Saugversionen and Legacy from 1989 had only a selectable four-wheel drive.

The different philosophies of the manufacturer for the all-wheel concepts led more frequently in the past for slugfest with promotional media between Subaru and especially Audi, which also led to mutual injunctions.

Subaru in Auto Sport

World Rally Championship

Subaru drives since the 1970s rallies, among others, the Leone 1800 Turbo Hardtop Coupe ( EA81 ), the Subaru Vivio and the Leone Turismo Turbo ( EA82 ). 1990 Subaru began to take part in the World Rally Championship WRC ( World Rally Championship). Initially, modified versions of the Subaru Legacy and the Subaru Impreza from 1993 were used, which were built in the motorsport specialists Prodrive.

The team and its riders were on several occasions successfully. So it was in the years 1995, 1996 and 1997 First the team standings. Moreover, won in 1995 Colin McRae, Richard Burns in 2001 and 2003 Petter Solberg WRC drivers' standings respectively. In the other years, the Subaru World Rally Team finished and occupied its drivers mostly second or third places.

On 16 December 2008 Subaru announced withdrawal from the WRC, just a day after Suzuki. As a reason for the end of the nearly 20 -year commitment, the economic crisis has been specified.

Subaru in Formula 1

Subaru came short in the 1990 Formula 1 season as a competitor to. The parent company Fuji Heavy acquired the majority of the Italian Formula 1 team Coloni SPA in the winter of 1989 /90 and equipped the team with its own engine, the Subaru MM 3512th

The engine was not a proprietary development of Subaru. Rather, the engine was developed in 1988 by the Italian engineer Carlo Chiti in whose work Motori Moderni as a commissioned work for Subaru. It was to meet the company standard to a constructed as a boxer engine twelve-cylinder with 3.5 liters, which should be in the post- turbo era of F1, ie from 1989 onwards, are used. The engine was heavy, wide, thirsty and weak; after Italian measurements, it gave little more than 330 kW, which was about 110 kW below the specified value and 150 kW under the services of competitors. In the course of 1989 Subaru tried to get a prestigious Formula 1 team as consumers, which did not succeed. Finally, we turned to the operating since 1987 in Formula 1 team Coloni, which was the end of 1989 in resolution. Subaru took over the majority of shares, but kept the former team boss Enzo Coloni in office and left the operating mode further in the workshops Colonis. There you did not try particularly; Instead, only a single year's car was equipped with the inexpensive Subaru engine. The result was an overweight, under motorized and poorly assembled car called the Coloni C3B, that was the worst of the season with the exception of the carriage of Life Racing. The Belgian racing driver Bertrand Gachot failed with the machine regularly at the pre-qualification. In May 1990, Enzo Coloni was sacked and Subaru tried a few weeks to structure the racing independently. Soon after, Subaru saw the failure of the company and retired to the British Grand Prix from Formula 1. The team was sold back to the previous owner Enzo Coloni, who again took from the Hungarian Grand Prix with Ford Cosworth engines. Subaru did not seek alternative and did not return to Formula 1. A modern V12 engine, the Carlo Chiti had already designed the Subaru job, the Japanese factory did not pick up. Chiti tried in vain to find for the engine other customers in motorsport.

The Subaru engine was used in 1992, however, in other contexts again, in a supercar manufactured by Monte Carlo Automobiles. The Fontvieille, Monaco -based company owned by the former racing driver Fulvio Maria Ballabio and in 1986 was the first time have appeared, as they have a race car brand DYWA reported with Ballabio the Formula 3000 race at Imola. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the football club of Monte Carlo presented the Monte Carlo Automobile a closed sports car with the name Centenaire ago, the had a V12 engine from Lamborghini and has sold a total of six times. A convertible version, which was equipped with the Subaru engine -boxes of Motori Moderni - was presented in 1992 in Los Angeles. It was a unique piece, which gave 530 kW with two turbochargers.


The Subaru Legacy introduced in the 1990s, several endurance and speed records for production vehicles, such as the fastest of the series combined.

A Subaru Impreza is also used in the GT300 class of the Japanese GT Championship (Super GT ) and in the super - Taikyu series.

Some Subaru Impreza also be used in the Japanese D1 Drift Grand Prix since 2005. These are used by the Team Orange and were modified so that they only have a rear wheel drive.


From 2000 until October 2005, General Motors held a 20 % stake in Fuji Heavy Industries and some car models were jointly developed and marketed. Thus was developed, for example, the Saab 9-2X based on the Subaru Impreza, or Subaru Traviq (which was not available in Germany ) based on the Opel Zafira. The plan was also the introduction of a new model of the Subaru Justy based on the Opel Corsa and a new SAAB SUV based on the Subaru B9 Tribeca, which was then not yet realized.

Since October 2005 there is a cooperation between Fuji Heavy Industries and Toyota Motor Corporation. Since April 2008 Toyota holds a minority stake of 16.5 % of Fuji Heavy Industries. Jointly, various new models are developed. As a first result of this new co-operation of the Daihatsu Sirion Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu was sold from September 2007 as a new version of the Subaru Justy. In addition to a production order for Toyota models in the U.S. Subaru receives likely also have access to hybrid technology from Toyota.

Previously manufactured Fuji Heavy Industries together with Suzuki in their plant in Esztergom / Hungary (Magyar Suzuki) which are largely identical vehicles Subaru Justy and Suzuki Ignis (previously Suzuki Swift). This cooperation was but after the end of the participation of General Motors at Fuji Heavy Industries also terminated (Suzuki was also partially owned by General Motors). In the U.S., the same car was marketed under the name Geo Metro.

Since 1988, Subaru of America plant in Ohio / USA, a work together as a joint venture with Isuzu, were made ​​in which amongst others the Subaru Outback and vehicles from Isuzu. 2003 Fuji Heavy Industries bought the shares of Isuzu and operates the plant since in-house ( Subaru of Indiana Automotive ). Since April 2007, there is made in addition on behalf of the Toyota Camry.

Production figures

  • 2004: 592 678 pieces
  • 2003: 548 422 pieces
  • 2002: 541 018 pieces
  • 2001: 568 870 pieces
  • 2000: 581 368 pieces



  • Rebadged Isuzu
  • Rebadged Suzuki
  • Rebadged Nissan
  • Rebadged Opel
  • Rebadged Daihatsu, part of the Toyota Group
  • Rebadged Toyota

Europe, Japan and USA

  • Subaru 1500 (1954), the first car of Subaru
  • Subaru 360 (1958-1971)
  • Subaru 450 (1960-1964 corresponds to Subaru 360 with larger engine )
  • Subaru 1000 (1966-1969)
  • Subaru FF- 1 (1969-1972)
  • Subaru R- 2 (1969-1972)
  • Subaru Leone (1971-1981)
  • Subaru Rex (1972-1992)
  • Subaru Leone II/1600/1800 ( 1979-1989 )
  • Subaru Bighorn (1984-2011)
  • Subaru Justy (1984-2011)
  • Subaru Libero (1984-1998)
  • Subaru L series ( Leone III / Loyal ) ( 1984-1994 )
  • Subaru XT (1985-1991)
  • Subaru SVX (1991-1997)
  • Subaru Vivio (1992-1998)
  • Subaru Delivery Van (1994-2001)
  • Subaru Traviq (2001-2004)
  • Subaru Baja (2002-2006)
  • Subaru R2 ( 2003-2010 )
  • Subaru R1 (2005-2010 )
  • Subaru Sambar (since 1961)
  • Subaru Legacy ( 1989 )
  • Subaru Impreza (since 1992)
  • Subaru WRX STI ( since 1992)
  • Subaru Outback (since 1996)
  • Subaru Forester ( 1997 )
  • Subaru Pleo (since 1998)
  • Subaru Tribeca (since 2005)
  • Subaru Stella ( since 2006)
  • Subaru Exiga (since 2008)
  • Subaru Dex (since 2008)
  • Subaru Lucra (since 2010)
  • Subaru Trezia ( since 2011 )
  • Subaru XV ( since 2011 )
  • Subaru BRZ (since 2012)


  • SRD -1
  • B9 Scrambler
  • B11S
  • GT
  • Levorg


  • Subaru released in Japan a car magazine called Cartopia of these are so far over 400 editions appeared. In Germany, Subaru released a customer magazine called Drive
  • Since 1980, Subaru is represented in Germany by the Subaru Germany GmbH in Friedberg.
  • In the U.S. film Wisdom (1986 ) is an older Subaru Leone station wagon in the first series with double headlights, the vehicle of the couple's gangster. Demi Moore and Emilio Estevez take this through the U.S. and raided banks in order to destroy IOUs.