Subaru first arrived on the scene in Japan in 1958, with the Subaru 360 that it whimsically advertised as, “cheap and ugly.” Since then, Subaru has produced 20 million vehicles in Japan, marking a major milestone for the brand.
“This remarkable achievement of 20 million-unit domestic production would not have been possible without our esteemed customers and the years of diligent work by our employees, past and present,” Fuji Heavy Industries president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said at the company’s ceremony.
Production in Japan has moved along at a steady rate since 1992, when cumulative total production stood at 10 million units. Only 11 years later, in 2003, Subaru reached the 15 million vehicle mark, leading up to this most recent 20 million vehicle milestone after another 11 years.
Exports to the U.S. began in 1968, and Subaru offered the small economy-focused 360 for a very affordable $1,297. Between then and now, Subaru has built a strong reputation in the U.S. founded on build quality, longevity, and all-wheel-drive capabilities of its vehicles. Subaru reached six million vehicles sold in the U.S. in November 2012, and following its strongest U.S. sales year of all time in 2013, that total has increased to almost seven million vehicles sold to date. According to Subaru, American sales now constitute about 55 percent of total Subaru sales worldwide.
U.S. manufacturing will play an even greater role in Subaru’s growing future, as plans are in motion to expand production at its Lafayette, Indiana plant. The decision will add capacity for Subaru Impreza production set to begin at the plant in 2016, amidst news that Subaru will no longer build the Toyota Camry at the Lafayette factory when its agreement with Toyota expires. As Subaru Outback and Forester sales continue to lead the charge in U.S. sales, redesigned 2015 Subaru WRX and 2015 WRX STI models will arrive early this year to appeal to the more enthusiast-oriented market.