The history of the Japanese automobile company "Subaru" began in 1954, after the concern "Fuji Heavy Industries" received an order for the production of an inexpensive car from the Japanese government. The first prototypes were released in the same year, and in 1955 the first pre-production samples were released, called the Subaru 1500. However, due to lack of funding, the start of serial production was postponed until 1958. Going on sale, two options were presented to equip the model with a 1.5-liter power unit with a capacity of 47 horsepower and a 1.8-liter one with a capacity of 54 horsepower. Successful sales of the 1500 model allowed Fuji Heavy Industries to start developing a compact truck on its basis, which will later be sold under the Sambar brand.
The next passenger car model of the Subaru company was presented in 1966. In view of the fact that fuel consumption has always been a key factor in the success of a particular car, the compact Subaru 1000 sedan was introduced, equipped with a 0.9-liter boxer engine with a capacity of 55 horsepower. In addition, the firm decided to move away from the then classic rear-wheel drive chassis design, introducing one of the first Japanese cars with front-wheel drive.
However, Subaru engineers did not stop there, starting in the same year to develop a lightweight platform that could allow the use of four-wheel drive, while maintaining the lightness and compactness of a compact car. So, in 1971, a model of the compact sedan Subaru Leone was presented, equipped with all-wheel drive and power units with a capacity of 55 to 90 horsepower. In addition to a rich range of engines, the car was equipped with several body options, among them there was a station wagon body, which became especially popular in the automotive market of the United States of America and Canada in 1977, immediately after the release of this modification. However, a key factor in the success of the model was the fuel crisis, which completely changed the automotive industry in the 70s and 80s of the 20th century.
In 1978, on the basis of the Subaru Leone, the production of a small BRAT pickup truck, developed for the domestic car market in Japan, began. In addition, in 1979, modifications of the Subaru Leon were presented for participation in the World Rally Championship. From 1980 to 2011, the Subaru factory team was a regular participant in the championship, but after a series of setbacks, it was decided to curtail the Japanese brand's sports program. During the debut of the very first Subaru WRX model, Italian teams reigned on the rally tracks, driving Lancia and FIAT cars. However, after the tightening of the rules, the palm passed in turn from Audi to Lanche, Peugeot and Toyota. The management of Subaru in 1994, after a series of setbacks, again decided to curtail the rally program immediately after the end of the 1995 season, and the first driver of the team, Colin McRae, was informed about this. The updated Subaru Impreza in modification 555 allowed the racer to win only two victories in the 1995 season, but thanks to the incredible reliability of the car, McRae certainly finished in the top three, which ensured him the champion title and the long-awaited victory for the Japanese brand. The next victory was won by Richard Burns in 2001, and after 3 years the success was consolidated by the Norwegian Peter Solberg, trying on the champion crown in 2004, beating the future rally racing legend Sebastian Loeb.
Against the background of the development of racing traditions of the Subaru team, production cars have undergone a number of changes. So in 1983, the Subaru Domingo minivan was introduced, which took the second place in sales in its segment in the automotive market of the United States of America. This was followed by city cars for the domestic market, but the real success was much later.
In 1987, the first generation of the Subaru Legacy mid-size sedan was presented, built on a new generation platform, which in some modifications had front or all-wheel drive, which made it possible to lay the technical basis for the creation of a new class of cars - the crossover segment. Under the hood of Subaru Legacy is a two-liter turbocharged power unit with a capacity of 217 horsepower. In 1989, a modification of the Legacy Outback was introduced, which had a station wagon body and permanent all-wheel drive.
Against the background of the growing success of the compact sedan Mitsubishi Lancer, which in 1991 was built on the same principle as the Subaru Legacy, but due to its compact dimensions and lighter weight, it began to gradually displace the Subaru brand from its positions. In a hurry, the company's engineers developed a competitor to the Mitsubishi Lancer, introducing it in 1992 under the name Impreza. The key difference between the model, however, was not technical data, but pricing policy. The basic version of the Subaru Impreza with front-wheel drive accounted for 80% of the cost of the basic version of the Mitsubishi Lancer, which allowed Subaru to regain its position forever.
However, the fast-growing segment of mid-size crossovers continued to attract the management of the Subaru company, which led to the start of work on a full-fledged SUV of the brand. In 1997, the first generation of the Subaru Forester model was presented, equipped with a 250 horsepower turbocharged engine. By the way, this model also added to the number of Subaru cars, which received many modifications and updates, constantly forming part of the company's current model range.
In 2000, there was a complete renewal of Subaru cars, but financial difficulties gradually wore out the Japanese company. In 2002, after the costly launch of the Subaru Outback as an independent car, the concern's losses became too large. The problems of the Subaru brand attracted not only the Japanese government, which was in dire need of debt repayment, but also investors who wanted to acquire a promising brand. The decision was made much simpler than originally planned. A contract for technological cooperation was signed with the Swedish brand Volvo, which, in exchange for technologies and developments of Subaru, paid part of the company's debt. But this turned out to be not enough, and in 2004 the brand got a new co-owner - the largest automaker Toyota, planning to include another well-known brand in its structure. True, the country's government blocked the deal, citing antimonopoly legislation. As a result, Toyota managed to get only about 7% of Subaru shares.
Having secured itself financially, Subaru began further work on new cars. In 2005, a special special version of the Subaru Impreza was introduced, which received a 390 horsepower engine and an aerodynamic body kit developed in conjunction with the racing department of the Audi brand. And the following year, the company tried its hand at being a luxury car manufacturer, introducing the Subaru Tribeca model to the American car market, which was supposed to compete with such brands as Lexus and Infinity.
The next blow to the welfare of the Subaru company was caused by the global economic crisis, which forced the Japanese brand to reduce production volumes, as well as switch to a shift work schedule. In addition, 2008-2010 became so unfortunate that one of the brand's factories was temporarily closed. The Toyota concern again came to the rescue, providing Subaru with a new inexpensive model and, having covered all the debts of the brand, received an additional 0.5% of the shares. The Subaru BRZ model is a complete analogue of Toyota 86, except that it was decided to sell the twin cars in different countries, without creating artificial competition.
In 2011, a compact crossover Subaru XV was presented, built on the basis of the legendary Impreza model, but with increased ground clearance and more electronics. The urban crossover broke the record for sales in its class in the automotive markets of Japan, the United States of America and Canada, falling short of the Toyota Rav4 with only a few hundred units sold.
In 2012, the brand unveiled one of the most impressive vehicles to date, co-developed with Toyota. It was a Subaru BRZ with a boxer engine and rear wheel drive.
The Subaru BRZ is a compact rear-wheel drive sports car in the back of a two-door coupe, developed and produced jointly by Subaru and Toyota, and was officially unveiled at the December 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. BRZ stands for Boxer, Rear Wheel Drive, Zenith. The model is sold under three different brands: Toyota (Toyota 86 in Japan, Australia, North America and North Africa, Toyota GT-86 in Europe, Toyota FT-86 in Nicaragua and Jamaica), Subaru (Subaru BRZ) and Scion (Scion FR- S).
The car is built on a modified Subaru Impreza platform. The sports car has a low center of gravity, located at a height of 460 mm, thanks to the boxer engine and low seating position of the driver and passenger, and the gearbox, like the engine, is located as far down and back as possible.
The fourth generation of the STI car began in 2014. This year was marked by the release of the fourth generation WRX STI. Probably, it is this generation that most differs from all previous ones in technical equipment.
Subaru WRX STI is a real legend and without exaggeration a cult car. Its rise to the Olympic rally and nationwide fame began more than 20 years ago, in the early 90s, when Subaru began to cooperate with the British firm Prodrive and took part in the WRC World Rally Championship with a new model. As you noticed, the word disappeared from the name of the model. Impreza, and now it's just Subaru WRX STI. Although, as before, it is built on the basis of a civilian sedan. Along with part of the name, "unnecessary modifications" are gone - now the STI is produced only in the sedan body and only with a manual transmission. Together with the new body, the charged sedan received a completely new design. Smooth lines have given way to straight and sharper lines, and the front of the car has become more menacing.
In the fourth generation, Subaru WRX STI has become a little more civilian, but only for those who fully understand what the previous generations of STI are. For everyone else, this is a powerful, tough and hurricane car. And in the hands of an experienced driver, it is also an excellent tool for victory on the track, because the WRX STI is now actively performing on the asphalt of the legendary Nürburgring track, but believe me, gravel is still not alien to it, and, as before, STI remains an excellent "blank" for tuning lovers.
Summing up, we can say that in the absence of the main competitor, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, Subaru felt much freer and we hope it will delight us with new products more often.