Subaru is a company known for its innovative and reliable cars. From luxury SUVs to sports cars, Subaru has always managed to capture the imagination of car enthusiasts around the world. However, few people know that Subaru’s story began with a humble but groundbreaking car known as the Subaru 360.
The History of Subaru as a Company
Subaru is a Japanese car manufacturer that was founded in 1953. Originally known as the Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the company was created by a group of companies that included Nakajima Aircraft Company, Fuji Sangyo, and the Government of Japan. The goal of the company was to create a car that was uniquely Japanese and could compete with other car manufacturers from around the world.
The Reason Behind the Development of the First Subaru Car
In the early 1950s, Japan was going through a period of rapid economic growth. However, due to the rising cost of fuel and limited road space in urban areas, car ownership was still only a luxury for the rich. The Japanese government realized that if it wanted to promote car ownership among its citizens, it needed to create a car that was affordable, fuel-efficient, and easy to drive in urban areas.
To promote this idea, the Japanese government created a new class of cars known as Kei cars. These cars were small, fuel-efficient, and affordable, making them accessible to the average Japanese citizen. It was this new class of cars that inspired Subaru to develop the Subaru 360.
The Specifications and Features of the First Subaru Car
The Subaru 360 was a two-door car that was introduced in 1958. It had a 360cc, two-stroke engine that produced 16 horsepower. The car was small, measuring only 3.3 meters in length, 1.4 meters in width, and 1.3 meters in height. However, despite its small size, the car could carry four passengers (although it was more comfortable with only two people).
One of the unique features of the Subaru 360 was its bodywork. The car’s body was made of steel, which was a departure from the traditional aluminum bodywork used in Kei cars at the time. This made the bodywork more durable and helped the car to withstand collisions better than its competitors.
Another distinguishing feature of the Subaru 360 was its price. The car was priced at 390,000 yen, which was significantly cheaper than other Kei cars available on the market at the time. This made the Subaru 360 an instant hit with the Japanese public, and it quickly became one of the best-selling cars in Japan.
The Impact of the First Subaru Car on the Automotive Industry
The Subaru 360 was a game-changer for the Japanese automotive industry. It showed that a small, affordable, and fuel-efficient car could be successful and popular with the public. This paved the way for other car manufacturers to develop their own Kei cars, and it helped to make car ownership more accessible to the average Japanese citizen.
The success of the Subaru 360 also helped to establish Subaru as a legitimate car manufacturer. Although the car was small and affordable, it was well-engineered and featured a number of unique innovations that set it apart from its competitors. This would become a hallmark of Subaru’s future car models, which would strive to be both practical and innovative.
The Legacy of the First Subaru Car
Despite being a small and relatively unknown car, the Subaru 360 has left a lasting legacy. It helped to establish Subaru as a legitimate car manufacturer and set the tone for the company’s future car models. The car also played a role in popular culture, appearing in films, TV shows, and even video games.
Today, Subaru is a global company that sells a wide range of cars to markets around the world. However, it is the humble Subaru 360 that started it all. Without this groundbreaking car, Subaru may not have become the company that it is today.
What is a Kei car?
A Kei car is a type of small, fuel-efficient car that is popular in Japan. These cars are typically less than 3.4 meters in length, have engines that are 660cc or less, and are designed to be both practical and affordable.
Why was the Subaru 360 so popular?
The Subaru 360 was popular because it was small, affordable, and fuel-efficient. It was also well-engineered and featured a number of unique innovations that set it apart from its competitors. The car’s popularity helped to establish Subaru as a legitimate car manufacturer and set the tone for the company’s future car models.
What impact did the Subaru 360 have on the automotive industry?
The Subaru 360 had a significant impact on the automotive industry. It showed that a small, affordable, and fuel-efficient car could be successful and popular with the public. This paved the way for other car manufacturers to develop their own Kei cars, and it helped to make car ownership more accessible to the average Japanese citizen.