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The automaker we know as Subaru began as an auto division for Fuji
Heavy Industries, a multinational conglomerate which itself began as the
Nakajima Aircraft Company. Founded in 1918 by a naval engineer by the
name of Chikuhei Nakajima, the company worked with the Imperial Japanese
Army and had five fully operational facilities producing aircraft during
WWII. After the war, the company was dissolved which and resulted in the
founding of Fuji heavy industries.
In 1953 the company decided to move into several fields of
manufacturing including scooters, coach building and began production
development of the P-1 passenger car. The P-1 was a four passenger
vehicle that featured 1.5 liter engine and was renamed Subaru for the
1955 model year. In 1958 Subaru introduced the 360 which was the first
mass-produced vehicle made by the fledgling automaker. The concept
behind the 360 was he same as that which prompted Henry Ford to design
the Model T: to provided an economical car that your average person
could afford to buy. Manufactured until 1981, the 360 was a micro car
that weighed only 900 lbs. and a wheelbase smaller than today's smallest
By 1968 Subaru had begun to be introduced in the American market
coinciding with buyouts by Nissan and, later, GM. In August of 1977
Subaru reused the first BRAT for North American markets based on the
Subaru station wagon of the time which featured offer four-wheel-drive
as well as small truck bed. Due to the gas crisis at the time, these
smaller Subarus became extremely popular, so much so that the United
States government issued a “chicken tax” on importation of commodities
such as light trucks. Subaru was able to get around this by adding two
rear facing “jump seats” in the Subaru BRAT which removed it from the
light-duty truck classification.
In the early 80s Subaru began work on its continuously variable
transmissions (CVT) which didn't use conventional gears found in
transmissions of the day; rather they employed two pulleys capable of
changing their overall circumference. This cutting-edge design is now
incorporated in may of today's vehicles due to its increased efficiency
when compared to a conventional geared transmission. In 1988 Subaru
established its Subaru Tecnica International (STI) subsidiary that
designs racing components as well as assists in the development of
Subaru’s FIA World Rally Championship vehicles.
In the years to come Subaru would experience its global manufacturing
numbers and company’s popularity increase. Subaru based their marketing
techniques on the fact that they offered all-wheel-drive platforms for
their vehicles. The company has also become almost synonymous with
rallying as a result of its multiple wins in the rally championships. In
2005 Toyota purchased 8.7% of Subaru’s parent company Fuji Heavy
Industries from General Motors. The joint operation would lead to three
vehicles being produced under the names of the Subaru BR-Z, Toyota
FT-86, Scion FR-S.
Our customer Jim not only reviewed our Rdash® Subaru Impreza dash kit
and uploaded photos and sent us a link to his NASIOC forum post. Now if only he'd contact us so we could send his instant cash back rebate!