The year 2018 marks the golden anniversary of Subaru of America. Of course, the company will celebrate 50 years of being at the helm of the brand’s crusade in North America.
Subaru of America has planned quite a number of events and programs as part of its golden anniversary celebrations. For now, the company has provided little details about these celebratory events and programs – all of which will be announced at the right time. In addition, Subaru of America will release a series of special edition vehicles in early 2018.
A special donation of “50 cars for 50 years” will also be made, the proceeds of which will benefit a national charity. All of these celebratory events, programs and special releases will culminate on the company’s actual anniversary on February 15, 2018 – exactly 50 years since Subaru was founded in February 15, 1968.
All things started decades prior to the establishment of Subaru of America. In 1917, Nakajima Aircraft Co. was founded by Chikuhei Nakajima. By 1950, Nakajima Aircraft was split into 12 companies. Five of these companies -- Fuji Kogyo, Fuji Jidosha Kogyo, Omiya Fuji Kogyo, Utsunomiya Sharyo and Tokyo Fuji Sangyo – made contributions to create Fuji Heavy Industries in 1953. Two years later in 1955, Fuji Heavy Industries merged with the five companies. This unity was exemplified by adopting Subaru – which means “unite” as the name of its brand of vehicles. The six-star logo of the company and of the brand is derived from the Subaru (Pleiades) cluster of stars.
Fifteen years later since Fuji Heavy Industries was established in 1953, Subaru of America was founded. This was thanks to the efforts of American businessmen, Malcolm Bricklin and Harvey Lamm, Subaru of America was established on February 15, 1968. Initially, Subaru of America was involved in selling distributor franchises to investors across the US, leading to around 13 distributors.
Eventually, Subaru of America bought 11 of the original distributors, excluding Subaru of New England and Subaru Distribution Corp. (SDC) of New York and New Jersey. Through the years, Fuji Heavy Industries had been investing in Subaru of America, gradually increasing its stake in the company. On August 31, 1990, Fuji Heavy Industries finally acquired the entire Subaru of America.
Currently, Fuji Heavy Industries is owned by several shareholders. The most notable of its stockholders is Toyota Motor Corp. – holding a stake of 16.48 percent – which is why we often seen collaborations between the two companies every now and then. Fuji Heavy Industries will have itself renamed as Subaru Corp., effective April 2017.
Since its establishment in 1968, Subaru of America has seen its sales surge, thanks to the slew of vehicles like the DL/GL Wagon, Legacy, Impreza, Outback, Forester and WRX. In 1968, sales were only 332 units. Ten years later, sales surpassed 100,000 vehicles. It remained there for most of the years until 2006, when Subaru of America finally breached 200,000 unit sales. A decade later in 2016, Subaru of America sold more than 600,000 vehicles.