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Subaru drivers have started to notice an interesting development regarding the brand’s cars and Toyota’s vehicles. Some of Toyota’s famous parts, such as Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain system, are showing up in some Subaru cars. This has prompted many people to ponder who owns Subaru and whether or not it’s the automotive giant, Toyota.

Subaru has a history of reliability and success

Subaru is a popular car brand that first came into the picture in 1917. According to the official Subaru website, the company got its start in the Nakajima Aircraft Company. While the company currently has a reputation for manufacturing cars, at the time of its inception, the company was focused on both aircraft and automobiles. The air hanger provided the space needed to develop both passions.

The first Subaru car hit the streets in 1958. It was cute and affordable and help establish what would become a long and successful history for the company. Many credit that first Subaru vehicle with triggering an increased demand for family cars in Japan. While Subaru was enjoying a great deal of success in Japan, the company wanted to become an international sensation. Moreover, the car company created Subaru of America in 1967 for U.S. market operations.

The American branch was based in Pennsylvania and relied on Fuji Heavy Industries to provide both vehicles and overseas transportation. The first Subarus reached American soil in 1968. Unfortunately, the company sold just 332 units that first year. About 30 years later, in 2000, the company sold 172,216 vehicles. Today, the company is still going strong and Subaru cars can be found all over the United States.

Who owns Subaru?

A Toyota executive giving a speech
Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda delivers a speech | KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

In short, Subaru owns Subaru, although the company is closely aligned with Toyota. Toyota has been slowly taking an increasing interest in Subaru and its cars for the past 15 years. In 2005, Toyota started investing in the company. According to Reuters, that initial investment gave Toyota an 8.7% stake in the Fuji Heavy Industries (better known as Subaru.)

As time passed, Toyota’s stake in the company increased. In September of 2019, Toyota announced that it had decided to increase its interest in the company to an impressive 20%. As Toyota’s interest in Subaru increased, Subaru has worked with Toyota and made a small investment in the company.

Toyota is very excited about what this means for both companies. “Between our company and Toyota is an alliance that already has a history of 14 years,” Subaru President Tomomi Nakamura explained in a press release. He went on to state,

“During this time, we have deepened our bonds in various fields such as product development, production, and sales, including through personnel exchanges.”

What of Subaru’s future?

There is a reason why Toyota keeps increasing its interest in Subaru. The bigger Toyota’s stake in the company, the more influence Toyota has over the vehicles Subaru creates. The shared interest also makes it easier for the two companies to pool resources.

According to Auto News, the two companies have big plans for the future. These plans include incorporating Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain system into more of Subaru’s vehicles, expanding all-wheel drive technologies, and developing a new generation of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ.

So while Toyota does not officially own Subaru, it is playing an increasing role in its future. It will be interesting to see if Toyota continues to increase its stake in the company. 

Editor’s note: Milla Henson contributed to this article.


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