Well, to answer the question quite simply, some of the operations are currently owned by the Subaru Corporation. But it’s much more complicated than that. I will delve into the intricacies of that labyrinth later.
So, who owns Subaru? Subaru was originally founded by Kenji Kita on 7 July 1953 in Japan and is one of the most respected car manufacturers in the world.
- Breaking Down Who Owns Subaru?
- The Subaru Corporation And Toyota Relationship
- How Does The Toyota Partnership Affect Subaru?
- Subaru And Toyota Partnership Benefits
- Other Subaru Partnerships
- Subaru Plants In Gunma And Indiana
- 12 Interesting Facts About Subaru
- Subaru’s World-Famous Safety Standards
- Use Your Love Of Cars To Make Money!
- Final Thoughts
It’s about the brand…
In 2020, Subaru was ranked the twenty-third biggest car producer worldwide by the official Fortune website.
However, when we discuss the merits of major multinational companies and brands, they can sometimes appear faceless. And in some ways, that’s the whole point. It’s about the brand, not the owner. But there are so many moving parts (excuse the pun) when we try and pin down who actually owns Subaru and their operations.
So, rev up your engine, don your driving gloves and let’s get everything moving in a forward motion…
Breaking Down Who Owns Subaru?
Once you’ve used Subaru, you never go back. They really are those kinds of vehicles. Their ability to build racecars and standard family vehicles while adhering to the highest manufacturing ideals separates Subaru from its pretenders.
Subaru rally cars have scooped a massive 47 wins in the FIA World Rally Championships over the years. But I’m not here to talk about their accolades but to discuss their ownership and history.
The Subaru Corporation And Toyota Relationship
The dominant force that controls large parts of Subaru vehicles and operations is the Subaru Corporation. But they have complicated relations with some other entities such as Toyota.
In 2019, Toyota increased its shares in Subaru from 16.83% to 20%, which is largely due to a collaboration between the companies to develop a next-gen Toyota 86.
Staying unique to its design…
The rumor mill coming directly from industry insiders reckons that Toyota might become an affiliate partner in the future with Subaru just like they did with Daihatsu. But the current Subaru President and CEO, Tomomi Nakamura, assured investors that Subaru will always remain authentic to its roots.
Nakamura stated that Subaru will continue providing the “unique attributes our customers have come to expect.”
How Does The Toyota Partnership Affect Subaru?
Their increased relationship with Toyota has not affected their recent models like the Outback, the WRX, and the Forester. So there is nothing to get concerned about at the moment. The unique aspects of Subaru vehicles are one of the things that Toyota respects the most, and they are not interested in changing anything drastically.
Subaru cars won’t become a Toyota clone, so all you Subaru heads out there needn’t get out the riot gear yet. The only key collaborations at this time are the aforementioned Toyota 86 and the Subaru BRZ, which are currently exceptions to the rule.
Electric and hybrid cars…
Subaru is currently moving towards a long-term goal that will see 40% of their vehicles become electric and hybrid models by 2030. Their relationship with Toyota will only add benefit to the company’s manufacturing operations during this change in ethos. In fact, the Forester, Outback, and Ascent models already offer hybrid options.
Subaru And Toyota Partnership Benefits
Numerous benefits are going forward with the Subaru and Toyota partnership. Subaru can utilize the best aspects of the Toyota brand and operations. Especially in terms of accessing their supply chain and R&D budget. They can use the best bits from Toyota while remaining the unique manufacturer that Subaru’s customers know and love.
The expanded Subaru vision is, as mentioned, for 40% of their vehicles to be electric or hybrid by 2030 and all cars to be fully electric and hybrid by 2035. And that will be even more of a possibility with Toyota behind them. The relationship is built for success as long as they keep in touch with their ethos for supplying exceptionally unique vehicles.
Other Subaru Partnerships
Partnering with Toyota is hardly the first time that Subaru has linked up with other car manufacturers to achieve a common goal. They have worked with other major auto companies before with a great deal of success.
The relationships were merely collaborations that massively benefited Subaru at the time and helped them to become the car manufacturer that they are today.
Subaru working with Nissan
As far back as 1968, Subaru was open to working with their competitors to break ground in the auto industry when they teamed up with Nissan. This was their first-ever collaboration with another company.
Nissan staked 20.5% of Subaru’s total value at the time. The collaboration was aimed to improve the overall competitiveness and effectiveness of the vehicles from the two manufacturers.
Luxury high-end busses…
Nissan needed Subaru’s superior manufacturing ideals in developing high-end luxury busses. Subaru needed Nissan’s affordable auto parts to become more competitive in the marketplace. And Subaru still uses Nissan parts in its production to this day.
Subaru Working with General Motors
In 1999, Nissan was sold to Renault because it was close to bankruptcy. And with this move, their shares in Subaru were sold to General Motors.
The relationship between General Motors and Subaru became a very beneficial one, resulting in collaboration to pioneer the Baja and Tribeca vehicle models. This partnership also culminated in the development of the Chevrolet Borrego in 2002 that merged the best aspects of a truck and a coupe.
General Motors sells stock to Toyota
Just to complicate matters more, in 2004, General Motors sold over 40% of its stock to Toyota. This gave Toyota an 8.6% stake in Subaru, and this is where the relationship between the two began. They’ve both been close partners ever since and are a proverbial match made in heaven.
Subaru also partnered with other manufacturers between 2005 and 2023, but in 2008 Toyota doubled their Subaru shares to 16.5%. Since Toyota upped their shares in Subaru to 20% in recent years, they have staked over $700 million to strengthen and solidify the relationship.
Subaru Plants In Gunma And Indiana
For a Japanese auto manufacturer, Subaru has a very Americanized philosophy. Subaru has two major manufacturing plants. One is located in Gunma, Japan, with the second plant based in Lafayette, Indiana, USA. They are both utilized for entirely different reasons, as I will go into below.
Subaru Gunma Plant, Japan
Japan has a very strict philosophy on immigration and foreign labor. The labor used in making the parts for the production of their vehicles, therefore, needs to be largely from Japan. When dealing with vehicles that come from Japan, at least 70% of that workforce needs to be Japanese.
Some questionable labor laws allow Subaru and other Japanese car manufacturers to circumnavigate those laws in a particular way. But we are not going to get into the legal ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs.’ However, the end result is that the vast majority of the parts come directly from their Japanese Gunma plant.
Subaru’s American Indiana Plant
Once the parts that are manufactured in Gunma are produced, they are sent to their Indiana plant in America for assembly. The plant is officially named the Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. and is otherwise known as SIA.
The parts assembled are mostly from Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. The plant enjoyed a $400 million investment for its expansion in 2017, and that was alongside a $140 million investment for buying new machinery and other equipment for its production.
Although they aren’t made in America…
There has always been a high demand for Subaru vehicles in America. And although they aren’t strictly made in America, most of the Subaru cars that are purchased in the USA are from the SIA plant. Models like the Impreza, Ascent, Outback, and Legacy cars are all made from parts that come from Japan and are then assembled in Lafayette, Indiana.
12 Interesting Facts About Subaru
Now That I’ve covered some of Subaru’s history, who owns major parts of the company, and where the parts and cars are produced and assembled, here are 12 interesting Subaru facts.
1 Subaru’s headquarters are located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.
2 They are famous for offering super-turbocharged versions of their standard passenger cars, such as the Impreza WRX.
3 The company name is derived from the meaning “The Seven Sisters,” which is the Japanese name for the cluster of stars known as the Pleiades Star System that is also used in the logo.
4 The first vehicle they produced was the Subaru 1500 in 1950. Only 20 of these models were ever made.
5 Toyota and Subaru are currently working together to create some new ‘sports cars of the future.’
6 The Subaru of America division was first launched in 1968 in Philadelphia but is now located in New Jersey.
7 Since 1996, almost all of the models they offer consumers are all-wheel-drive.
8 Nearly all Subaru models have been fitted with a Boxer engine at their very core. It’s become a major part of the brand due to its horizontal thrusting pistons that let the output go to transmission directly.
9 Subaru has now been producing vehicles for over 70 years and counting.
10 Their vehicles are not only regarded as powerful beasts. They are also revered for their reliability, safety values, and for their action-packed features.
11 In 2023, for the third consecutive year, the Subaru WRX was the vehicle that received the most speeding tickets in the USA.
12 In the 2023 Consumer Reports, Subaru was ranked as the number-3 car brand in the world for making the best vehicles.
Subaru’s World-Famous Safety Standards
Although Subaru cars are widely revered for their powerful performance and comfortable reliability, they are also some of the safest on the road. Japanese vehicles have high safety levels regardless of the company that made them.
So, here are some of the most important safety features of Subaru vehicles.
- The All-Wheel-Drive designs give you the most control when on the road in all conditions, climates, and terrains.
- They use EyeSight Driver Assistant Technology that gives them an impressive and award-winning front crash rating.
- The Pre-Collision Throttle Management system stops you from accelerating into obstacles.
- You can easily maintain safe distances from cars in front and behind using the Adaptive Cruise Control System.
- They feature an in-built Pre-Collision Braking system that triggers the brakes when needed.
- And the Lane Keep Assist & Sway Warning feature will always keep your Subaru in the center of your lane.
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The Subaru Corporation owns the vast majority of the vehicle and operations of the company. However, their main partners, Toyota, now own 20%. And working together on the hybrid and electric cars of the future.
Toyota has taken a sizable share in the company for the past ten years or more. And maybe Toyota’s presence will be more visible as we move towards 2030. However, the brand remains the reliable and unique powerhouse we have come to know and love.
They still offer amazingly powerful supercharged versions of their traditional family cars. This is why they appeal to a wide cross-section of auto-lovers. And for the time being, they are still the same Subaru from the 1960s in many respects.
Enjoy driving your amazing Subaru!