The Subaru marque has been pushing forward the boundaries of vehicle manufacture for over six decades. 2018 is a celebratory year for us as we look back at 60 years of creating the safest, most capable and reliable cars on the road today.
Like many manufacturers, we started with aeroplanes, beginning in post-war Japan with the Nakajima Aircraft Company. An exacting approach to engineering and a refusal to compromise on anything but the finest build quality transferred well into motor cars and in March 1958 our first car, the Subaru 360, was born. The 360 featured an air-cooled, 2-stroke inline 2-cylinder 356cc engine and light weight, to make for an entertaining drive, but our technical designers had higher aspirations.
1966 saw the introduction of our first ever ‘Boxer’ flat four engine in the fabled Subaru 1000; the combination of perfect balance and a low centre of gravity delivered excellent handling, refinement and safety credentials. It’s an ideology we’ve stuck with ever since, refining the concept and engineering further with each new model. Soon after, our talented R&D team perfected the permanent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system in the Leone Wagon. This would forever shape the way we engineered our vehicles going forward; the combination of Boxer engine and sure-footed, tenacious grip providing our hallmarks of handling, control and capability across all terrain and in any conditions.
The 70s and 80s saw the range go from strength-to-strength, with models such as the utilitarian go-anywhere Brat (or MV), which re-invented the idea of an affordable off-road pick up. Many of these are still in use today, reinforcing the reliability credentials that the Subaru brand is synonymous with. Daring, cutting-edge designs like the XT Coupe and Legacy followed, balanced by endearing compacts like the Justy, which combined mountain-goat ability with everyday perfectly-proportioned hatchback practicality. As well as building some fantastic cars during this period, we also grew to become a truly global brand, adding distributors and dealers all over the World.
The 90s was a turning point for Subaru, with the introduction of the era-defining Impreza and our almost-total domination of the World Rally Championship, in which we lifted the crown no less than three times and won countless events. The Impreza captured the hearts and minds of driving enthusiasts everywhere, offering supercar slaying performance and ability in a family friendly package. Using the same floorpan and technology, the high-riding Forester was born, as happy on road as it was on the forest trail. The Outback followed, creating a whole new vehicle genre that many other manufacturers have since followed. An honourable mention must also fall to the Giugiaro-designed SVX coupe from this decade, a car that typified our unrelenting quest to continually push the boundaries of design, technology and engineering.
The last two decades have seen constant refinement and development of our core models, with continual enhancements and innovations in safety technology and distilling the essence of previous designs into cars that work perfectly in any conditions. From the ‘B’ road focused handling enjoyment of the BRZ, through to class-leading vehicles such as the all-new XV, which was recently awarded BEST IN CLASS Safest Small Family Car of 2017 by Euro NCAP, Subaru continues to design cars for people that understand what really matters when buying a vehicle. And that’s why we build every Subaru to be better, where it matters.