Where Is Subaru Made?

Today, Subaru vehicles are manufactured in both Japan and the United States, but our roots are in Japanese craftsmanship and engineering – tracing back to the early-20th century. Since expanding into American manufacturing in the late 1980s, Subaru has operated three plants in two countries, holding fast to high standards and a continuous commitment to producing safe, quality vehicles at an affordable price with an ever-advancing eye on innovative engineering.

Japan: Subaru Country of Origin

The Subaru origin story starts in Japan. Our history begins under the moniker Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), known for expertise in aircraft manufacturing. Establishing a reputation for innovation early on, FHI engineers began developing automobiles, eventually creating the first prototype under the Subaru name in 1953. The name “Subaru” stems from the Japanese word for “unite,” as well as the Pleiades star cluster, on which our iconic emblem is based. 

By 1958, we unveiled our inaugural production vehicle, the Subaru 360. This rear-engine coupe became a success in Japan thanks to its compact size, sturdy construction, and affordability. Piggybacking off the popularity of the Subaru 360, the following decades led to even more automotive offerings, introducing models like the Subaru Leone and unveiling innovations like the SUBARU BOXER® engine and all-wheel drive technology. 

Expansion into the United States market was inevitable, with the first Subaru vehicles being sold in the U.S. in the late 1960s. Impressive growth in Stateside consumer demand for Subaru vehicles eventually led to the opening of an American manufacturing plant in 1989, further establishing Subaru as a leading global automotive company.

Signature Innovations of Subaru Vehicles

Since our inception in 1950s Japan, the Subaru brand has held a commitment to challenging the status quo of automotive engineering. This dedication is evident in signature innovations that set our vehicles apart, including the SUBARU BOXER engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

First introduced in Subaru models in 1966, the BOXER engine is mounted low on a vehicle’s transmission. It features a balanced, horizontally opposed configuration of the cylinders—an unusual setup for popular consumer vehicles and previously only found in luxury sports cars. While vertical engines have cylinders stacked on top of each other, horizontally opposed BOXER engines have pistons facing away from each other, taking up less space under the hood without sacrificing power. The resulting lower center of gravity and even weight distribution created improved handling and stability on Subaru vehicles. As an added bonus, this innovation also improved fuel efficiency and noise and vibration levels. 

Our Symmetrical AWD drivetrain, first introduced in 1986, represents another monumental turning point for Subaru thanks to its full-time functionality and variable power distribution to all four wheels. Paired with the BOXER engine, the Symmetrical AWD system delivers exceptional levels of stability, traction, and control across challenging terrain and in a variety of weather conditions. This further cemented the Subaru reputation for producing some of the safest, most capable vehicles available and helped establish our identity as the go-to automotive brand for adventure enthusiasts.

Subaru Expands to the United States

When Subaru first entered the U.S. market in 1968, our compact design differed from the much larger, domestically-produced vehicles that were popular at the time. In the wake of a national fuel shortage in the 1970s, American drivers took notice of the value of smaller, more fuel-efficient options. They quickly recognized and embraced Subaru as an automaker of reliable, versatile vehicles that were much more affordable to power.   

As American enthusiasm for Subaru vehicles grew, we recognized the opportunity and need for a manufacturing operation in the U.S. Subaru established corporate headquarters in the Delaware Valley in 1968, before moving to Camden, NJ in 2018 – just outside the Philadelphia metropolitan area. 

In addition, Stateside manufacturing was able to help support demand and global sales efforts while cutting down on the time and cost of shipping every Subaru from Japan. After two years of construction, the Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) plant opened in October 1989 in Lafayette, IN.

Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA)

The Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) plant stands as a testament to the enduring Subaru commitment to sustainability and innovation in automotive manufacturing. From its inception, SIA has placed a focus on minimizing environmental impact, pioneering the concept of a zero-landfill automotive assembly process long before it became an industry standard. Through the years, SIA has reached significant milestones in sustainability, including being recognized as the first U.S. automotive plant to achieve zero-landfill status. 

As our brand’s only manufacturing site outside Japan, SIA plays a vital role in producing Subaru vehicles not just for the North American market, but globally. The Lafayette facility’s state-of-the-art facilities and skilled workforce are the pillars that uphold the values that have guided Subaru throughout its entire existence: quality, dependability, safety, and innovation.

Explore the range of Subaru vehicles!

With a long history of innovation and quality engineering, see for yourself how Subaru delivers on its commitment to meeting the highest standards in automotive manufacturing. 

Check out our full lineup of Subaru vehicles today.