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Japan, 1953-



Established in 1953, from many companies that were split from bigger corporations. These companies were: Fuji Kogyo, a scooter manufacturer; coachbuilder Fuji Jidosha; engine manufacturer Omiya Fuji Kogyo; chassis builder Utsunomiya Sharyo and the Tokyo Fuji Sangyo trading company.

Reknown today for its AWD system and flat-4 engines in pretty much all their cars, Subaru first made their name with the little 360 car in 1958, which had an original look, followed by the Sambar utility vehicle in 1961. The 4-door FF-1 model has brought Subaru to compete with other major Japanese automobile manufacturers in 1966.

The first 4x4 or AWD system was introduced in limited quantity in the wagon FF-1 in 1971 in Japan. Very few were made and they were mainly sold to energy companies in rural Japan. One of the few examples have been found in the 2010's, restored to its former glory and put in a museum.
It wasn't the first car to have an AWD system as the Jensen FF which was introduced a few years earlier featured such a novelty first. Subaru was the second manufacturer to introduce it on production cars and it did it massively, with regular AWD Leone fresh from the factory starting in 1972. American Motors (AMC) would be the next car manufacturer to introduce a 4x4 system on a road car, followed the nex year by Audi and its famed Quattro system.
This innovation brought Subaru to compete later on in Rally Motorsports, notably with the first generation Legacy and then the first generation Impreza, which had a huge success which contributed to the selling of the WRX model, a turbo'ed AWD Impreza.
Many derivations of the Impreza were made such as the Outback Sport wagon and the first generation Forester (1998) which used the same underpinnings.

Meanwhile, Subaru has gotten also popular in the Kei Jidosha mini-car segment in Japan with the Rex and Sambar models, as well as the van variation of the Sambar, either the Sambar van or Dias wagon. These small models, along with the Justy, a sub-compact, didn't feature a flat-4 engine, but rather a conventionnal 3 or 4-cylinder. Some featured an AWD system however.

The Leone also had many derivatives and was proposed as a 3-door hatchback, 2-door hardtop, 4-door sedan and wagon as well as the iconic BRAT pickup, both in the first and second generation, which have been produced until 1994 in the BRAT model (NZL). Its third generation introduced a 3-door sports coupe named RX and also made way for the XT coupe, called Alcyone on the Japanese market, a sporty coupe available only in 2-door with either a 1.8 4-cylinder in NA or turbo, or the first-ever Subaru-made flat-6 2.7 engine (6 cylinders). It was available in front-wheel-drive or AWD.
The second generation Alcyone was released in 1992 with the SVX name and featured a 3.3 flat-6 engine. It also proposed FWD or AWD version, although the FWD wasn't available of some markets such as Canada.

Subaru established a joint-venture with Isuzu in 1988 to provide the other Japanese manufacturer with Leone station wagons. Isuzu later on introduced the first-generation Legacy into its lineup for a brief time under the Aska CX name (1990-1993).
Subaru also started a joint-venture with Suzuki for the sale of Justy models in Europe.
Later on, in the 2000's Toyota partnered with Subaru and provided some Daihatsu models to be sold as Subaru in Japan while they conjointly developped the Subaru BRZ and Scion FRS / Toyota GT86.


STi stands for Subaru Technica International. This is the performance/motorsports division of Subaru founded in 1988 by Fuji Heavy Industries to take over Subaru's motorsports activities and participate in rally championships. Along with Prodrive of the UK, they specialize in prepararing the cars for the Subaru World Rally Team which participates in the World Rally Championship (WRC)

Due to the success in the rallies, Subaru decided to get some of their regular models tuned by and sold with the STi badge…
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To see the complete list of "Alpha 3" country codes used in these pages to specify the market in which the model was sold, please visit the following website :
(We added (EUR) for Europe, (NAM) for North America, (SAM) for South America and (GCC) for Gulf Cooperation Council)

  • 600/700 *See : Rex (1981-1986)

  • Ace (NZL) *See : Rex (1986-1992)

  • B9 Tribeca *See : Tribeca (2006-2014)
  • Baja *See : Legacy (1998-2004)

  • FF-1 *See : 1000 / FF-1 Star / FF-1 1300G (1966-1973)
  • Fiori (AUS) *See : Rex (1986-1992)

  • GL / GL-10 *See : Leone AND DL / GL / L-Series AND Omega (Many years)

  • Liberty *See : Legacy (Many years)

  • M60/M70/M80 *See : Rex (1986-1992)
  • Mini Jumbo *See : Rex (Many years)

  • Outback *See : Legacy (Many years)
  • Outback Sport *See : Impreza (Many years)

  • Sherpa (AUS) *See : Rex (Many years)
  • Signet (IRL) *See : Rex (1986-1992)
  • Sumo *See : Domingo / Sumo / E10 / E12 (1983-1998)

  • Trendy *See : Justy (1984-1995)
  • Tutto *See : Justy (1984-1995)

  • Viki *See : Rex (1986-1992)

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