Is Subaru a Japanese Car Company?

Subaru is a popular brand in the US. We load our family, friends, and gear into Foresters, Outbacks, and Crosstreks. Or they go for joy rides in a BRZ or a WRX, commute to work in a Legacy. Subaru products inspire serious brand loyalty from Americans across the country. They are well-loved cars. In fact, many of them last long into the high mileage range. What is the history of the Subaru brand? Is Subaru a Japanese car company?

How did it all begin?

Subaru came from an Aircraft Research Laboratory called Fuji Heavy Industries back in 1915. Later, in 1932 the company made the switch to become Nakajima Aircraft Company, Ltd. According to the Subaru Wikipedia page, it was this company that manufactured Japanese aircraft during World War II.

A brown Subaru Outback on display at an auto show
A brown Subaru Outback on display | Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

When the war ended, Fuji Sangyo Co, Ltd. took the place of the name Nakajima Aircraft. Then something new emerged in 1946. The company created a motor scooter. In fact, it was made with parts left over from wartime manufacturing. This scooter was called the Fuji Rabbit.

Due to government changes and adaptations to financial organizations, a merger including several companies became Fuji Heavy Industries. ultimately it was this group that manufactured the first Subaru car. The company name was decided on as Subaru for the Pleiades constellation. Subaru produced its first car, the Subaru 1500, and that was it.

When did Subaru come to America?

In 1968, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania was the first place in which Subaru of America established itself. Soon after, however, the location moved to Pennsauken, New Jersey. Then, in 1986 Subaru of America moved to Cherry Hill, New Jersey. In 1990, Fuji Heavy Industries became the owner in full of Subaru of America. However, Fuji HI is now called Subaru Corporation. Most recently, Subaru of America’s US location is in Camden, New Jersey.

A sign displaying the Japanese Subaru logo on display
A Subaru sign | Mario Tama/Getty Images

Subaru of Indiana Automotive, a Subaru plant, helps set Subaru of America apart. For instance, it earned the backyard wildlife habitat designation. This honor comes from the National Wildlife Federation. On top of that, the assembly plant became the first American plant to achieve zero-landfill production.

Where are the Subaru headquarters?

The official Subaru headquarters are in Japan. According to Japanese Car Trade, the official location of the Japanese car company is in Ebisu, Shibuya, and Tokyo, Japan. These headquarters provide space for the company in its place of origin. Additionally, this likely contributed to Subaru’s Japanese production of cars sold elsewhere. In fact, it wasn’t until 2016 that Subaru made a shift. The brand breeched less than 75% in terms of how many vehicles were built in Japan before being sent out to dealers worldwide.

Is Subaru Japanese?

Yes, this is a Japanese car company. The official headquarters reside in Japan. Moreover, Subaru means “unity” in Japanese. In fact, the Pleiades stars inspired the name, according to Stanley Subaru. Today, it is a multinational corporation with a solid hold on the American auto market. Subaru remains a Japanese car company.


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