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Who Owns Subaru?

Who Owns Subaru?

Subaru has established itself as a beloved and trusted automaker, renowned for its reliable all-wheel-drive vehicles that excel in tackling diverse terrains and weather conditions. The brand’s iconic models, such as the Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek, have captured the hearts of adventurers and families alike, earning a loyal following across Canada and beyond.


But as Subaru’s popularity continues to soar, many Canadians may find themselves pondering a simple yet intriguing question: Who exactly owns and operates this esteemed automotive brand? While the Subaru name is a household staple on Canadian roads, the company’s ownership and origins trace back to its Japanese roots.


In this comprehensive exploration, we’ll unravel the fascinating history and corporate structure behind Subaru, shedding light on the parent company that propels this iconic brand forward. From its humble beginnings to its current status as a global automotive powerhouse, we’ll unveil the driving force that has shaped Subaru’s journey, particularly in the Canadian market.

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The Origins of Subaru Corporation

The story of Subaru Corporation, the parent company behind the popular Subaru brand, traces its roots back to 1953. At that time, five Japanese companies focused on aerospace manufacturing merged to form Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI). While aircraft production was the initial focus, FHI soon recognized an opportunity in the growing automotive market.

In 1954, just one year after its formation, FHI released its first vehicle under the Subaru name. The word “Subaru” stems from the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster, reflecting the company’s origins in aviation and its aspirations to build cars that could “travel the land, sea, and sky.” From these humble beginnings, Subaru Corporation was born.

Over the following decades, Subaru steadily grew its automotive division, pioneering technologies like the horizontally-opposed boxer engine and full-time all-wheel drive systems. These innovations, combined with a reputation for safety and durability, helped establish Subaru as a unique presence in the global auto industry.

While the company underwent a name change in 2017, becoming Subaru Corporation, its core values and commitment to engineering excellence remained intact. Today, Subaru Corporation stands as one of the world’s leading independent automakers, with a diverse lineup of vehicles appreciated by drivers from Japan to Canada and beyond.

 

Subaru’s Expansion into the Canadian Market

While Subaru Corporation had already established itself as a prominent automaker in Japan by the mid-20th century, the brand’s expansion into the Canadian market came much later. It wasn’t until 1976 that Subaru vehicles first arrived on Canadian soil, with the introduction of the Leone model.

The Leone, a compact sedan, represented Subaru’s initial foray into the Canadian automotive landscape. It was a modest start, with sales figures remaining relatively modest throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, this initial introduction laid the groundwork for Subaru’s eventual surge in popularity across the nation.

By the late 1980s, Subaru had established a foothold in Canada, albeit a small one. In 1989, the responsibility for importing and distributing Subaru vehicles in Canada was officially handed over to Subaru Canada, Inc. (SCI), a newly formed wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation. That year, total Subaru sales in Canada amounted to just 6,172 vehicles – a far cry from the brand’s current dominance.

 

Subaru Canada: A Wholly Owned Subsidiary

While Subaru is a globally recognized automotive brand, its Canadian operations are directly tied to its Japanese parent company. Subaru Canada Inc. (SCI) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation, formerly known as Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. This means that Subaru Corporation maintains complete ownership and control over Subaru’s business activities within Canada.

Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Subaru Canada Inc. serves as the importation and distribution arm for Subaru vehicles across the country. All new Subaru models sold through Canadian dealerships are brought in directly by SCI under the oversight and direction of its Japanese parent company.

As a subsidiary, Subaru Canada remains beholden to the corporate vision and strategies set forth by Subaru Corporation’s leadership in Japan. However, SCI maintains a dedicated Canadian workforce and executive team that manages localized operations, marketing, sales, and customer service efforts tailored for the unique Canadian market.

 

Leadership at the Helm of Subaru Canada

At the forefront of Subaru Canada’s operations is Tomohiro Kubota, the newly appointed Chairman, President, and CEO. Kubota assumed this leadership role in December 2022, bringing a wealth of experience from his tenure at Subaru Corporation’s global headquarters in Japan.

With over three decades of dedication to the Subaru brand, Kubota has held various executive positions within the company’s corporate planning, sales, and marketing divisions. His intimate understanding of Subaru’s core values and long-term vision positions him as an ideal steward to guide the Canadian subsidiary’s continued growth.

Under Kubota’s direction, Subaru Canada is poised to strengthen its commitment to delivering exceptional products and customer experiences tailored to the unique needs of the Canadian market. His strategic acumen and deep-rooted passion for the brand will undoubtedly shape Subaru Canada’s trajectory in the years to come.

With a focus on innovation, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, Kubota’s leadership promises to uphold Subaru’s reputation for quality and reliability while exploring new avenues for success in the ever-evolving automotive landscape.

 

Canadian Operations and Distribution Network

At the heart of Subaru’s Canadian presence lies its national headquarters and distribution center in Mississauga, Ontario. This sprawling facility serves as the nerve center for all of Subaru Canada’s operations, overseeing the importation, distribution, and support of Subaru vehicles across the country.

Subaru Canada operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation, granting it full control over the brand’s activities within the Canadian market. From this central hub, Subaru coordinates the intricate logistics of bringing vehicles from Japan and distributing them to over 100 authorized Subaru dealerships spanning from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland.

The process begins with the careful importation of Subaru models tailored to meet Canadian regulations and consumer preferences. Once these vehicles arrive at the Mississauga distribution center, they undergo thorough quality checks and are prepped for delivery to dealerships nationwide. A fleet of transport trucks constantly crisscrosses the country, ensuring a steady supply of Subarus reaches every corner of the Canadian market.

Beyond the physical distribution of vehicles, Subaru Canada’s operations encompass a wide range of support services for its nationwide dealer network. This includes comprehensive training programs for sales and service personnel, ensuring a consistent and exceptional customer experience at every Subaru retailer. Additionally, Subaru Canada manages intricate parts logistics, marketing initiatives, and customer relations efforts – all aimed at solidifying the brand’s reputation for quality and reliability across the country.

 

Surging Sales and Popularity in Canada

Over the past few decades, Subaru has solidified its position as one of Canada’s most popular and successful automotive brands. The Japanese automaker’s rugged, all-wheel-drive vehicles have proven to be a perfect fit for Canadian drivers navigating diverse weather conditions and terrain.

Subaru’s sales trajectory in Canada has been nothing short of remarkable. In 1989, when Subaru Canada Inc. took over import and distribution responsibilities, the brand sold just over 6,000 vehicles nationwide. Fast forward to today, and Subaru routinely sells well over 60,000 units annually, a tenfold increase from those early days.

This surge in popularity can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, Subaru’s core models like the Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, and Impreza have consistently delivered on the brand’s promise of adventure-ready capability and reliability. Canadians have embraced these vehicles as perfect companions for outdoor pursuits and harsh winter conditions.

Additionally, Subaru has cultivated a loyal following by emphasizing safety, value, and impressive resale value. The brand’s commitment to innovation, exemplified by its advanced EyeSight driver-assist technology and boxer engine design, has further solidified its appeal among discerning Canadian buyers.

Subaru’s sales momentum reached new heights in 2014 when the brand achieved its best-ever annual sales record in Canada. This milestone underscored the automaker’s growing prominence and cemented its position as a top 10 automotive brand in the country.

Today, Subaru’s popularity shows no signs of waning. With a diverse lineup catering to diverse lifestyles, from the compact Impreza to the rugged Ascent SUV, the brand continues to resonate with Canadians seeking capable, versatile, and reliable vehicles that embody the spirit of adventure.

 

Top-Selling Subaru Models for Canadians

When it comes to the models driving Subaru’s success in Canada, a few key nameplates consistently rise to the top. Thanks to their rugged capability, spacious interiors, and the brand’s renowned safety and reliability, these vehicles have become favorites among Canadian buyers.

Leading the charge is the Subaru Outback, a crossover that blends SUV practicality with car-like drivability. With standard symmetrical all-wheel drive, raised ground clearance, and a spacious cabin, the Outback is perfectly suited for Canadian adventures. Its mix of versatility and fuel efficiency has made it a go-to choice for families and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Another immensely popular model is the Subaru Forester. As one of the original crossover SUVs, the Forester offers a compelling blend of cargo space, all-weather capability, and carlike handling. Its boxy, no-nonsense design and impressive visibility have earned it a loyal following among those who appreciate its rugged, functional nature.

The compact Subaru Crosstrek has also emerged as a sales superstar, capturing the attention of urban buyers and outdoor adventurers simultaneously. With its raised suspension, standard all-wheel drive, and impressive fuel economy, the Crosstrek is an affordable entry point into the Subaru lifestyle. Its go-anywhere attitude and city-friendly size make it a versatile companion.

Rounding out the top sellers is the Subaru Impreza, available as a sedan or hatchback. While more conventional than its crossover siblings, the Impreza still packs signature Subaru traits like standard all-wheel drive and a spacious cabin. Its combination of value, efficiency, and all-weather capability have solidified its status as a smart choice for Canadian drivers.

 

The Subaru Brand’s Canadian Reputation

Subaru has cultivated an enviable reputation among Canadian drivers, earning a loyal following and high satisfaction ratings. Several factors contribute to the brand’s stellar standing in the Great White North.

First and foremost, Subaru’s legendary all-wheel drive (AWD) system is a perfect match for Canada’s often harsh and unpredictable weather conditions. From the icy roads of winter to the muddy trails of spring, Subaru’s symmetrical AWD provides unmatched traction, control, and peace of mind. This capability resonates deeply with Canadians who value safety and adventure in equal measure.

Moreover, Subaru vehicles are renowned for their ruggedness, durability, and reliability – qualities that are highly prized in a country with extreme temperature swings and challenging terrain. Canadians can count on their Subarus to start without fail on the coldest mornings and conquer the toughest backroads without missing a beat.

Beyond the mechanical prowess, Subaru has cultivated a brand image that aligns seamlessly with Canadian values and lifestyles. The automaker’s emphasis on outdoor adventure, environmental responsibility, and safety strikes a chord with many Canadians who embrace an active, eco-conscious way of life.

This connection is reinforced by Subaru’s marketing efforts, which often feature scenic Canadian landscapes and highlight the brand’s partnership with organizations like Ski Canada and the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association. By aligning itself with quintessentially Canadian pursuits, Subaru has become ingrained in the national psyche.

Ultimately, Subaru’s reputation in Canada is built on a foundation of capability, reliability, and shared values. As a result, the brand enjoys remarkable customer loyalty, with many Canadians becoming lifelong Subaru enthusiasts after their first experience behind the wheel.

 

Subaru’s Commitment to Sustainable Mobility

Beyond its reputation for building go-anywhere vehicles, Subaru has also established itself as an automaker dedicated to environmental sustainability. As a subsidiary of Subaru Corporation, Subaru Canada aligns with the parent company’s vision of pursuing mobility solutions that reduce environmental impact.

At the core of Subaru’s eco-friendly efforts is its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The company aims to eliminate direct emissions from its vehicles, plants, and operations while also addressing indirect emissions across its entire supply chain and lifecycle. This ambitious target demonstrates Subaru’s commitment to mitigating climate change and transitioning to a more sustainable future.

Subaru has already made strides in reducing emissions from its vehicles. The brand’s Boxer engine design and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system contribute to improved fuel efficiency, lowering the carbon footprint of Subaru models. Additionally, Subaru has embraced electrification, introducing hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants of popular models like the Crosstrek and Outback.

Looking ahead, Subaru plans to expand its electrified lineup further, with the goal of offering at least one electrified variant across all model lines by the early 2030s. The automaker is also actively researching and developing new technologies, such as solid-state batteries and alternative fuel sources like synthetic fuels, to support its sustainability objectives.

Beyond its products, Subaru is also working to minimize the environmental impact of its operations. The company has implemented various initiatives to reduce waste, conserve water, and increase the use of renewable energy sources at its facilities worldwide, including those in Canada.

Subaru’s commitment to sustainable mobility extends beyond its own operations. The automaker actively partners with environmental organizations and participates in initiatives aimed at preserving natural habitats, promoting eco-friendly practices, and raising awareness about environmental issues.

 

Canadian Economic and Community Impact

Beyond selling popular vehicles to Canadians, Subaru’s presence in the country has a significant economic impact and community involvement. As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese parent company, Subaru Canada employs hundreds of workers at its headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario, as well as through its vast network of over 100 dealerships from coast to coast.

The automaker’s Canadian operations generate substantial revenue and economic activity. Each Subaru vehicle sold contributes to the country’s GDP and tax base, while the company’s facilities, employees, and partnerships create additional economic ripples. Subaru’s investment in its Canadian subsidiary demonstrates a long-term commitment to the market and local communities.

Speaking of community, Subaru Canada has made it a priority to give back and support various initiatives across the nation. The company has partnered with organizations like the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. Through financial donations, volunteer efforts, and raising awareness, Subaru Canada strives to make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians.

One particularly notable program is the Subaru Loves the Earth initiative, which aligns with the brand’s adventurous and environmentally-conscious image. This initiative supports efforts to preserve Canada’s natural spaces, promote sustainability, and encourage eco-friendly practices. From tree-planting events to national park clean-ups, Subaru Canada demonstrates its commitment to protecting the country’s great outdoors.

By investing in its Canadian operations, creating jobs, generating economic activity, and actively supporting local communities, Subaru Canada reinforces its position as more than just an automaker – it’s a valued corporate citizen contributing to the nation’s well-being.

 

The Road Ahead for Subaru in Canada

As Subaru Canada looks to the future, the road ahead appears promising, with projections for continued growth and an exciting shift towards sustainable mobility. While the brand has found tremendous success with its gasoline-powered all-wheel-drive models, the automotive industry is rapidly evolving, and Subaru is positioning itself to meet the changing demands of Canadian consumers.

One of the most significant developments on the horizon is Subaru’s commitment to electrification. The company has already unveiled its first all-electric vehicle, the Solterra EV, which is set to hit Canadian roads in the near future. This move towards electric vehicles (EVs) is not only a response to the growing demand for eco-friendly transportation options but also a testament to Subaru’s dedication to reducing its environmental impact.

Subaru’s parent company, Subaru Corporation, has outlined ambitious plans to introduce a range of electrified models in the coming years, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants of its popular nameplates like the Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek. This strategic shift towards electrification is expected to resonate well with Canadian consumers, who are increasingly prioritizing sustainability and environmental consciousness in their purchasing decisions.

Beyond electrification, Subaru Canada is also poised to capitalize on the brand’s reputation for safety, reliability, and adventure-ready capabilities. As the demand for rugged, capable vehicles continues to grow in the Canadian market, Subaru’s expertise in all-wheel-drive technology and its commitment to engineering excellence position it well for further success.

With a strong dealer network, robust sales momentum, and a loyal customer base, industry analysts predict that Subaru Canada will continue to gain market share in the years ahead. The automaker’s focus on innovation, performance, and customer satisfaction is expected to drive sustained growth, solidifying its position as a prominent player in the Canadian automotive landscape.

 

Why Subaru Canada’s Japanese Ownership Matters

While Subaru Canada operates as a wholly owned subsidiary, it remains inextricably linked to its Japanese parent company, Subaru Corporation. This connection is crucial for several reasons that ultimately benefit Canadian consumers and the brand’s local presence.

Firstly, being part of the larger Subaru Corporation ensures that Subaru Canada has access to the latest technologies, engineering innovations, and product developments from the global automaker. This allows Canadian Subaru models to feature cutting-edge safety systems, efficient powertrains, and advanced driver-assistance features on par with their international counterparts.

Additionally, Subaru Corporation’s deep-rooted expertise in all-wheel drive systems and horizontally opposed “boxer” engines directly translates to the Canadian lineup. These core Subaru technologies, renowned for their durability and performance in adverse conditions, are perfectly suited for the diverse Canadian climate and terrain.

Moreover, Subaru Canada’s Japanese ownership facilitates seamless collaboration and knowledge-sharing between the subsidiary and its parent company. This synergy enables Subaru Canada to quickly adapt to evolving market trends, consumer preferences, and regulatory requirements, ensuring its products and services remain relevant and competitive within the Canadian automotive landscape.

From a financial perspective, being a subsidiary of the well-established Subaru Corporation provides Subaru Canada with access to substantial resources for investment in areas such as product development, dealer network expansion, and marketing initiatives tailored to the Canadian market.

Perhaps most importantly, Subaru Canada’s Japanese ownership ensures that the brand’s core values – centered around safety, reliability, and environmental responsibility – remain firmly ingrained in its Canadian operations. These principles, deeply rooted in Japanese automotive culture, resonate strongly with Canadian consumers and contribute to Subaru’s distinct identity and loyal customer base.

 

Comparing Subaru to Other Japanese Automakers

While Subaru may not be as ubiquitous as Honda, Toyota, or Nissan on Canadian roads, the brand’s ownership structure sets it apart from these automotive giants. Unlike its Japanese competitors who have established separate Canadian subsidiaries, Subaru Canada operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of its parent company, Subaru Corporation.

This direct ownership by the Japanese parent company is a unique arrangement among major Japanese automakers in Canada. Toyota Canada Inc., Honda Canada Inc., and Nissan Canada Inc. are all independently incorporated Canadian companies, with their respective Japanese parents holding a controlling stake but not outright ownership.

Subaru’s wholly owned subsidiary status means that Subaru Canada is more tightly integrated with its Japanese headquarters, both operationally and strategically. Key decisions, from product planning to marketing initiatives, likely involve closer collaboration and alignment with the parent company’s vision.

This centralized approach could offer advantages in terms of brand consistency and unified messaging across global markets. However, it may also present challenges in tailoring strategies to meet the unique needs and preferences of Canadian consumers.

Regardless, Subaru’s ownership model is a testament to the company’s commitment to maintaining control over its Canadian operations, rather than delegating significant autonomy to a separate national entity. As a smaller player in the Canadian market, this centralized approach may allow Subaru to be more agile and responsive to changing market conditions.

 

Conclusion: A Fully Canadian Subaru Experience

From its humble beginnings importing the Leone model in 1976, Subaru Canada has transformed into a powerhouse automotive brand deeply embedded in communities nationwide. While maintaining a strong connection to its Japanese parent company Subaru Corporation, the Canadian subsidiary has cultivated a distinctly local presence and operations tailored for the unique needs of Canadian drivers.

With headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario and an extensive network of over 100 dealerships, Subaru Canada oversees the import, distribution, marketing, and sales of Subaru vehicles from coast to coast. Under the leadership of Chairman, President and CEO Tomohiro Kubota, the company employs hundreds of local workers while actively investing in Canadian communities through partnerships and philanthropic initiatives.

Subaru’s reputation for safety, reliability, and adventure has struck a chord with Canadians, propelling the brand to record-breaking sales years and a top 10 position among automakers. From the rugged Outback to the compact Impreza, Subaru’s signature all-wheel drive capabilities have become a driving force behind its success in the harsh Canadian climate.

As Subaru Corporation charts an eco-friendly course for sustainable mobility globally, its Canadian subsidiary remains committed to reducing its environmental footprint while delivering the high-performance vehicles Canadians have come to love. With deep Japanese roots grounded by a truly local presence, Subaru Canada offers the best of both worlds – world-class engineering paired with a tailored Canadian automotive experience.

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Questions About Subaru Company Ownership

Subaru Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation of Japan (formerly known as Fuji Heavy Industries). Subaru Canada, Inc. (SCI) is the national sales company responsible for the marketing, sales, and distribution of Subaru vehicles in Canada. SCI is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario.

Subaru made its debut in Canada in 1976 with the launch of the Leone model. For the first 13 years, Subaru vehicles were imported and distributed by Malcolm Bricklin and Harvey Lamm. In 1989, Fuji Heavy Industries established Subaru Canada, Inc. to take over Canadian operations.

As of 2023, the Subaru dealer network in Canada consists of 95 independently owned and operated dealerships across all provinces. This includes 16 in British Columbia, 18 in Alberta, 4 in Saskatchewan, 5 in Manitoba, 36 in Ontario, 12 in Quebec, 3 in New Brunswick, and 1 in Nova Scotia.

Some of the best selling Subaru models in the Canadian market include the Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, Impreza, WRX/STI, BRZ, and Legacy. The Outback midsize SUV is particularly popular in Canada thanks to its capable all-wheel drive system and available ground clearance.



None of the Subaru vehicles sold in Canada are manufactured locally. All Subaru models sold in the Canadian market are built at Subaru’s factories in Japan, specifically the Gunma and Yajima manufacturing plants. Some models also contain components from the U.S.

As of December 2022, Tomohiro Kubota serves as the Chairman, President and CEO of Subaru Canada Inc. He oversees all Canadian operations. Kubota has a long history with Subaru, having worked internationally for the parent company Fuji Heavy Industries (now Subaru Corporation) since 1992.

Subaru Canada aims to reduce CO2 emissions from its vehicles and manufacturing operations in line with Subaru’s global midterm environmental targets. This includes improving average vehicle fuel efficiency by at least 40% from 2005 levels by 2030 and using 100% renewable electricity at Subaru plants by the same year.

No, Subaru does not currently manufacture any vehicles within Canada. All Subaru models sold in Canada are built at Subaru’s vehicle assembly plants in Japan and then exported to North America. There are no Subaru manufacturing facilities located in Canada.

Subaru Canada Inc. (SCI) national headquarters office is located at:

 

560 Suffolk Court

 

Mississauga, ON

 

L5R 4J7

Subaru Canada officially opened its national Mississauga headquarters in 1989 when Fuji Heavy Industries established Subaru Canada Inc. to take over all import and distribution operations in the country.

Subaru Canada employs approximately 150 people at its headquarters in Mississauga. This includes corporate staff overseeing national operations as well as parts distribution center employees at the adjacent warehouse facility.

The Subaru Parts Distribution Center (PDC) that supplies authorized Subaru dealerships across Canada is located right beside SCI headquarters at:

 

575 Suffolk Court

 

Mississauga, ON

 

L5R 4J7

Subaru Canada outsources its national customer service operations to a third-party call center provider. Customers can reach Subaru Canada Customer Relations at:

 

Phone: 1-800-894-4212

 

Email: customerservice@subaru.ca

Yes, Subaru Canada offers online service appointment booking for customers through its website. Owners can search for local Subaru dealerships, view availability, select services, and book appointments digitally without having to phone the dealer service department.

In 2022, Subaru captured 4.3% of Canada’s total new vehicle market or around 1.7% of industry sales when excluding trucks. This gave Subaru the #6 rank among all vehicle brands operating in Canada last year.

In the past, Subaru struggled to shake a reputation in Canada for building quirky, basic economy cars with all-wheel drive. It took dedicated marketing and major product investment to reposition Subaru as a maker of safe, durable, and family-friendly vehicles.

Subaru Canada has been recognized with high honors including multiple Automotive J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction awards and ALG Residual Value awards. Subaru models also regularly earn “top safety pick” designations from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Early Subaru models were very basic but the brand has evolved to offer vehicles with much more comfort, technology, performance and safety. Large touchscreens, advanced driver assists, turbo engines, and premium interiors are now available—vastly improving the Subaru owner experience.

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