Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) last month held an extraordinary meeting of its Board of Directors and resolved to change its company name to Subaru Corporation beginning April 1, 2017. The implementation of the name change is subject to shareholder approval for amendments to the company’s Articles of Incorporation at the 85th General Meeting of Shareholders scheduled for June 28, 2016.
The origins of FHI date back to the foundation of the Aircraft Research Laboratory (later to become Nakajima Aircraft Co. Ltd.) in 1917. After going through a number of reorganizations, FHI was established under its current name in 1953. Since then, the company has expanded its businesses ranging from aerospace and industrial products segments to its primary business of Subaru automobiles which began with the introduction of the Subaru 360 minicar in 1958.
Today, the Subaru automotive business operates in more than 90 countries worldwide and continues to achieve strong growth, thanks to the support of its customers around the globe. For the fiscal year ending March 2017, Subaru projects its global vehicle sales to exceed one million units (1,050,000 units on a consolidated basis) for the first time in its history.
In its mid-term management vision “Prominence 2020” announced in May 2014, FHI set a corporate vision for 2020 of being “a high-quality company that is not big in size but has distinctive strength.” To this end, the company is focusing on two initiatives: enhancing the Subaru brand; and building a strong business structure.
FHI is taking the opportunity of the 100th anniversary of the 1917 founding of Nakajima Aircraft to change its long-familiar company name and unify it with its brand name. The purpose of this shift is to further accelerate company efforts to enhance the Subaru brand and achieve even greater growth for Subaru as a distinctive global brand in the automotive and aerospace industries.
“Under our new company name, we will continue to seek sustainable growth by offering Subaru’s distinctive value of ‘Enjoyment and Peace of Mind’ to customers worldwide, pursuant to our management philosophy of aiming to be a compelling company with a strong market presence built upon its customer-first principle,” a company statement said.
In 1917, Chikuhei Nakajima established the Aircraft Research Laboratory. In 1918, the Aircraft Research Laboratory was renamed to Nakajima Aircraft Factory, which was then incorporated as Nakajima Aircraft Co. Ltd. in 1931. In 1945, the Nakajima Aircraft Co. Ltd. was reorganized as Fuji Sangyo Co. Ltd., switching from aircraft manufacturing to production of civilian goods. In 1950, in accordance with the Enterprise Reorganization Act, Fuji Sangyo Co. Ltd. split into 12 companies, including Fuji Kogyo, Fuji Jidosha Kogyo, and Utsunomiya Sharyo. In 1953, five of the 12 companies, including Fuji Kogyo, contributed capital to establish Fuji Heavy Industries Limited. In 1955, FHI acquired and merged with the five companies.
Subaru is a Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster. Subaru was the first brand to use a Japanese name for its vehicles. The name symbolizes the unity of the six companies related to Nakajima Aircraft that merged to form Fuji Heavy Industries.