Happy 50th to Subaru — and Many More


Here at Maple Hill Subaru, we’re celebrating a major milestone— Subaru’s 50th anniversary. In 1968, Subaru entered the American market with just a single model, and it has grown into a top-10 brand with seven popular models. Even more exciting, some of Subaru’s greatest innovations are right around the corner, including the highly anticipated 3-row Ascent SUV and Subaru’s first electrified car.


To mark 50 years in the U.S. auto market, Subaru is releasing limited editions of its most popular cars, including the Outback, Forester and Impreza. These special models feature a new “Heritage Blue” paint color, commemorative badges, special wheels, and silver accents, including stitching and seat belts. Such attention to details is just one of the many reasons Subaru attracts so many repeat buyers and how it’s earned a spot in so many American driveways. 


While Subaru of America now ranks as one of the fastest-growing U.S. car brands, the company started with humble beginnings. In 1954, Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, debuted its first model, the 1500 or P-1, in Japan, but only built 20 due to limited supplies. In 1968, the company’s American division, Subaru of America, was founded, and Subaru debuted its first U.S. car, the Subaru 360, which retailed for $1,299 and rivaled the Volkswagen Beetle in size, but was lighter and $300 less expensive. The following year, Subaru released its first front wheel drive model, the FF1, which was available as a two-door or four-door sedan, or wagon.


One of Subaru’s best-known innovations — the all-wheel drive wagon — hit the U.S. market in 1975, paving the way for Subaru’s position as the leader in standard AWD in all of its models. (We Michiganders certainly appreciate that technology!)  Through the next two decades, Subaru started to hit its stride and launched some of its most-beloved models, including the Legacy (1989) the Impreza (1993) the Outback (1995) and the Forrester (1998).


Subaru has become so popular in the U.S. that, in 1989, Subaru opened its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Indiana, which it originally shared with Isuzu. The facility is Subaru’s only production site outside of Japan and currently builds Outback, Legacy and Impreza models. In December 2016, it produced its 5 millionth vehicle, a blue Outback, and the  plant will also manufacture the upcoming Ascent, Subaru’s long awaited 7 passenger AWD SUV.


In 1998, Maple Hill Auto joined the Subaru family, and we’ve made it a top priority to carry on Subaru’s values in our Western Michigan communities. Over the last 20 years, through its “Love Promise” initiative, Subaru says it has donated more than $120 million and its employees have contributed more than 40,000 volunteer hours to non-profits and charities.


In keeping with Subaru’s values of community service and support, we have also donated both our time and money to dozens of non-profit and organizations across Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Portage areas. In our communities, Maple Hill Subaru supports many local Little Leagues, the SPCA of SW Michigan, Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes,  the Maple Hill Bike Trail, local schools and arts organizations, and many more groups that help deserving individuals throughout our region.


When many of our customers have come back to buy their newest Subaru, they pass along their original cars to friends and family. That trust and loyalty have been key to Subaru’s success.  As one Subaru executive explains:  “It’s more than just a car, it’s relationship, gender, name. It’s an heirloom. It’s family,” Jeff Walters, senior vice president, sales, for Subaru of America told Forbes last year.


In 10 more years, we’ll be ready to celebrate Subaru’s 60th anniversary, and we can’t wait to see the roads we travel to get there together.

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