Subaru is the automobile manufacturing division of Japanese transportation conglomerate Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI). Its history can be traced back to 1953 - 55 when several companies merged to form FHI. Kenji Kita, the CEO of Fuji Heavy Industries at the time, wanted the new company to be involved in car manufacturing and soon began plans for building a car with the development code-name P-1. Mr. Kita canvassed the Company for suggestions about naming the P1, but none of the proposals were appealing enough. In the end, he gave the car a Japanese name that he had "been cherishing in his heart": Subaru, which is the name of the Pleiades star cluster in Japanese.
In 1998 Nissan acquired a 20% stake in FHI, later selling it to General Motors when Nissan itself was taken over by Renault in 1999. In 2005 Toyota Motor Corporation bought 8.7% of FHI shares from GM. The remaining shares owned by GM were sold on the open market. Toyota now owns 16.5% of FHI.
A large part of Subaru's success has been due to the boxer engines they have developed and the popularity of their 4 wheel drive vehicles.
Following continued success in the World Rally Series with the Impreza WRX STi, the Subaru Impreza has achieved an almost cult like status, often referred to as a Scooby by owners. Anyone thinking I want to sell my Subaru should be able to do so without a problem, providing it is well serviced, in good condition and not used as a rally car!
The Subaru Legacy has also seen a little bit of resurgence in recent years with car based four wheel drives becoming more popular as opposed the large off road 4x4 type vehicles.