Subaru actually means "unite” and it refers to the six stars on the logo that stand for the 6 companies that are united under the FHI group. The largest of the stars represents Fuji Heavy Industries. The company started out in 1917 in Japan as an aircraft research laboratory but soon moved to producing airplanes.
After WWII, the company created a scooter, the Fuji Rabbit with the spare parts from airplanes. Pretty soon, the company split up into different business that manufactured scooters, coaches, engines and chassis. Then CEO Kenji Kita decided that it would be a good idea to get involved in car making and pretty soon the first Subaru car was created, the Subaru 1500 (1954).
The 1500 or P1 was followed by the 360 in 1958, the Sambar in 1961, the 1000 in 1965, gthe 1100 and the R2 in 1969. During the 70s, the Leone came out and then later, in the 80s, the Alcyclone (1985) and the Legacy (1989) were added to the Subaru line-up.
Slowly, in the 90s, the company moved away from the manufacture of small vehicles and concentrated on rally cars, such as the Vivio and Impreza. Different versions of the Impreza WRX won the world championship several times under drivers such as Colin McRae.
Using the technology from the aeronautical industry, Subaru employed many successful inventions in the automotive industry. One of the first was the us of horizontally opposed "boxer” engines as well as the use of monocoque construction. Also, Subaru is the only car manufacturer to offer all-wheel drive as a standard on most of its models. The Japanese manufacturer was also the first to introduce electronic continuously variable transmission (ECTV) which replaces standard gears and gives smooth acceleration while reducing emissions and fuel consumption.
Subaru also takes a keen interest in environmental protection, having achieved an odd record: 0 landfill status for their plant in Lafayette, Indiana which means that the factory generates no trash. Also, the company has an extensive recycling program for its own cars, not to mention the program for hybrid and fuel efficient cars.