Though best-known for more than 50 years for its flagship automobile brand, Fuji Heavy Industries maintained its original corporate name right up until its centenary in 2017, at which point it finally became Subaru Corporation. Though cars are its biggest business by far, the company also makes forestry and agricultural machinery, military and commercial aircraft. Its passenger car brands include the Forester, the Outback and the Impreza as well as a range of minivehicles for its domestic market, including the Stella and Pleo. All its cars feature proprietary all wheel drive technology, and Subaru's engines also have horizontally-opposed pistons which move from side-to-side rather than up and down like other manufacturers, reducing vibration and giving the marque a reputation as a sporty, high performance brand. A six-year alliance with General Motors was wound down in 2005, and instead Subaru now has a close working relationship with domestic giant Toyota. Performance has improved significantly as a result, and the group has reported a series of record sales and profits, underpinned by excellent performance in its biggest market by far, the US. Revenues reached a new high equivalent to $30.8bn for the year to Mar 2020, with net profit of approx $1.4bn. Total registrations for calendar 2019 were 1.08m vehicles, including 758k cars in North America, a new local record for the company for the 11th consecutive year. Though it ranked as the #23 passenger car brand globally, Subaru is the #8 brand in the US, and has been rated by consumer auto guide Kelley Blue Book as the Most Trusted Brand for six consecutive years since 2015. Its strength in the US makes up for significant weakness in other markets including China and Europe. In Japan it was the #6 seller at 105k vehicles. Top-selling models globally were the Forester (292k units) and Outback (214k). Tomomi Nakamura, formerly chairman of the US operation, succeeded Yasuyuki Yoshinaga as group CEO in 2018 after the company admitted vehicle fuel economy and emission data had been manipulated. The company was founded in 1917 by navy engineer Chikuhei Nakajima to design and build military aircraft, and by 1940 Nakajima Aircraft Company was one of Japan's leading manufacturers of warplanes. It was broken up after WWII and re-constituted in 1953 as Fuji Heavy Industries. Its first passenger car was launched in 1958, and named Subaru after the Japanese word for the constellation of stars commonly known as the Pleiades, which still feature in its logo.
Capsule checked 3rd July 2020
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Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Jan 2020: "Cure Boredom Fast". Here's proof that we haven't seen it all before. Displaying their customary creative brilliance, Canadian indie Zulu Alpha Kilo delivers a note-perfect parody of pharmaceutical ads for Subaru's new Impreza. Such a clever idea, carried off with an exceptionally witty script. There are a couple of shorter executions as well, displaying other symptoms of the kind of boredom the Impreza is designed to cure. "If you find yourself replying to spam you may be experiencing symptoms of boredom. Try fast-acting Impreza... May cause reliability and frequent bouts of punctuality." Fabulous!
Adbrands Daily Update 7th Jan 2020: "Drive Safe". If you're a sheep, it's probably fair to say, life is really pretty mundane. There aren't many major incidents to recall when you find it all flashing before your eyes at the point of your imminent extinction. Just about enough for a 30-second commercial; definitely not the full 60. But it's still life; your life. That's the underlying premise of this entertaining spot from MullenLowe London for Subaru, highlighting the company's automatic object detection braking system. Features a fine performance from the sheep.
Adbrands Social Media 18th Feb 2019: "For All You Love / Imagination". Carmichael Lynch has unveiled a trio of typically brilliant new campaigns for Subaru. Usually these come in drip-feed installments, but this time they've released all three together. Two are so good - and so different from each other in style - that we couldn't decide which one to pick, so here are both. We are regularly astonished by the consistent quality of the work this agency does for the Japanese carmaker. We're certain it plays a major role in keeping Subaru among the top-selling brands in the US: a feat unmatched in any of that company's other major markets. It's the warmth of its imagination that distinguishes this campaign from any other US auto manufacturers. Long may Carmichael Lynch's reign continue.
Adbrands Social Media 2nd Mar 2018: "See the World". We've always got time for Carmichael Lynch's warm-hearted, often outdoorsy ads for Subaru of America. We're not especially familiar with Subaru here in Europe, but it's now the 8th most popular car brand in the US and agency CL have played a large part in getting it there. Those dog ads are a big crowd-pleaser of course, but it's the emotionally rich human tales that really capture our attention. Here's a fine example; and it's not some creative director's fanciful invention. This is George Wurzel who is in reality a blind artist at the Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa, CA, who takes sighted visitors on sensory tours along local nature trails. Lovely photography and scenery ads to the whole experience.
Adbrands Social Media 20th Feb 2017: We've long admired Carmichael Lynch's excellent ads for Subaru which have helped to make that Japanese carmaker one of America's top 10 marques ahead of better known brands like Dodge or VW. There's a set of three new spots out this week. One of them adapts the same idea they used so successfully a few years ago for their 'Baby Driver' spot, but with a boy instead of that little girl. Nicely done, but it's a shame to recycle your own work. We prefer this clever spot promoting Subaru's safety technology.
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