Subaru (スバル) (/ˈsuːbəruː/ or /sʊˈbɑːruː/; Japanese pronunciation: [ˈsɯbaɾɯ]) is the automobile manufacturing division of Japanese transportation conglomerate Subaru Corporation (formerly known as Fuji Heavy Industries), the twenty-second largest automaker by production worldwide in 2012.
Subaru cars are known for their use of a boxer engine layout in most vehicles above 1500 cc. The Symmetrical All Wheel Drive drive-train layout was introduced in 1972. Both became standard equipment for mid-size and smaller cars in most markets by 1996. The lone exception is the BRZ, introduced in 2012 via a partnership with Toyota, which pairs the boxer engine with rear-wheel-drive. Subaru also offers turbocharged versions of their passenger cars, such as the WRX, Legacy and Outback XT, Ascent, and formerly the Legacy GT and Forester XT.
In Western markets, Subaru vehicles have traditionally attracted a small but devoted core of buyers. The company’s marketing targets those who desire its signature engine and drive train, all-wheel drive and rough-road capabilities, or affordable sports car designs.
Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster M45, or the “Seven Sisters” (one of whom tradition says is invisible – hence only six stars in the Subaru logo), which in turn inspires the logo and alludes to the companies that merged to create FHI.