It can be difficult to tell where a vehicle comes from, since international manufacturers can have domestic facilities to produce and sell their cars. One such brand is the Japanese car company Subaru, so it is important to ask where Subaru Cars are made.
Subaru makes their cars in one of two facilities, either their main manufacturing plant in Gunma, Japan, or their North American plant in Lafayette, Indiana. Their most popular vehicles, like the Impreza and Outback are made at both facilities, but some models are only made at one or the other.
The specifics of Subaru’s most popular car models and where they are manufactured are covered in much greater detail below.
Popular Subaru & Where are They Made
Subaru has a wide range of popular vehicles across various makes, models, and styles which are sold around the world. Most of the manufacturing for these vehicles, however, is handled by two main Subaru plants, one in the Gunma Prefecture of Japan and one in Lafayette, Indiana, USA.
1. Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza is one of the manufacturer’s most popular and widespread models, being both very affordable and offering a unique all-wheel drive system built-in. This, combined with a range of safety features, make Impreza one of the most dependable compact sedans on the market.
While the Impreza has been around since 1992, throughout the years Subaru has modernized and updated the features of the vehicle, even adding a range of sensors to help with parking and impact detection. The Impreza also uses the specially designed Global Platform, a unique vehicle frame designed to maximize stability and safety.
In terms of manufacturing, the Impreza is one of the few Subaru vehicles made in both the Gunma and Indiana Subaru plants. What this means is that most North American models of Impreza are made in Indiana while most international models are made in Japan and shipped from there.
2. Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback is perhaps the second oldest vehicle still in Subaru’s lineup, and its most popular crossover vehicle. In fact, a little over a quarter of all American Subaru sales are made up by the Outback, making it extremely important to the company’s American market, in addition to its overseas sales.
The Outback, true to its name, is designed for more rugged off-road terrain, with more ground clearance than the classic sedan models and greater interior space for passengers and cargo. Still, while the Outback comes with all wheel drive as standard, it lacks a built-in trailer hitch and can’t mount a proper towing package.
Like the Impreza, the Outback is also produced in both Japan and America, but due to its popularity in America the car is more common domestically than abroad.
3. Subaru Legacy
The Subaru Legecy is another sedan in the Subaru lineup, but structurally it sits between the compact design of the Impreza and the rugged crossover style of the Outback. In terms of niche, the Legacy is designed to be a family station wagon, as it offers more space than the Impreza and more comfort than the Outback.
The Legacy sports all of the same features as most Subaru vehicles, including all wheel drive and a full range of safety sensors. The Legacy also comes with a more spacious interior, heated, sculpted seats, and features designed to reduce the noise created by the engine, combining to create a smoother, quieter ride than other vehicles.
The Legacy is the last Subaru vehicle on this list to be made in both Japan and the United States,
4. Subaru Ascent
The Subaru Ascent is the only Subaru model on this list created solely in their Indiana manufacturing plant, and as such it has almost no international presence. The Ascent itself is a crossover family vehicle designed for holding a large number of passengers or a large amount of cargo by offering more interior space than other Subaru models.
The Ascent comes with three rows of seating, the back two of which can be folded down to create more storage space, making the Ascent a versatile vehicle. It also comes with all the standard Subaru features, including the Global Platform, all wheel drive standard, and impact detection sensors.
As previously stated, the Ascent is only produced in Indiana, a rare trait among Subaru cars since most of their vehicles are made either in all of their facilities or just in their Japanese plant.
5. Subaru Forester
The Subaru Forester is a large crossover vehicle designed for both traveling with the family and going off road, as the vehicle combines a roomy cabin with high ground clearance. The Forester can be thought of as a combination of the Ascent’s family-oriented comfort with the rugged design and power of the Outback.
The Forester also has a proven track record of safety, offering not only impact sensors but a rugged and practical design to help keep passengers safe. These are combined with driver assistance technology to help locate road lines and nearby vehicles to prevent drifting or crashes.
The Forester is the first vehicle on this list to be exclusively made in the Gunma manufacturing plant in Japan, so Foresters are always imported.
6. Subaru Crosstrek
The Subaru Crosstrek is somewhere between a sedan and a crossover in terms of overall size and roll, having a more compact outward design but with a spacious interior cab. This means the Crosstrek can be used as a small family vehicle for outings, as it fits five people comfortably but lacks the bulk and space for larger groups.
The Crosstrek is also one of the most affordable Subaru vehicles on the market and its low cost is supported by its amazing fuel economy, making the Crosstrek a very practical vehicle. It is also available in an electric hybrid model for even more efficiency and environmental friendliness.
The Crosstrek, like the Forester, is only made in Gunma, Japan, and as such has to be imported to North America for sale.
Most of Subaru’s popular vehicle models are made in both their Japanese facilities and their plant in Lafayette, Indiana, with only a few models being specific to one or the other.
What Subaru is Known For
All car brands have certain features, characteristics, and even company histories that give them a recognizable reputation around the world. Subaru is no exception, and the company is known for a legacy of Japanese rally car racing, durability, fuel economy, and their near-universal use of all wheel drive in their cars.
Japanese Racing. Throughout the years, Subaru has played a major part in the Japanese rally car racing circuit, both sponsoring teams and creating vehicles for drivers to use. Subaru has also branched out into selling rally cars for racers around the world, and even briefly made Formula 1 vehicles for Japan.
Durable Cars. Subaru cars are famous for being remarkably reliable, being able to drive for hundreds of thousands of miles without regular maintenance. This type of longevity is rare in vehicles, and is supported by the fact that Subaru cars are easy to repair and maintain, helping them last even longer with proper care.
Great Fuel Economy. In addition to their physical reliability, Subaru cars are also known for having an impressive fuel economy that helps lower their overall cost and improve their travel range. This trait, combined with their longevity, means Subaru cars have rightfully earned a reputation as being a dependable line of vehicles.
All Wheel Drive. Most Subaru vehicles come with an all wheel drive feature along with a standard rear or front wheel drive. Subaru also developed the unique Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system which balances the weight and power of the all wheel drive function for greater handling and stability while driving.
Common Benefits and Problems with Subaru Cars
Like any car brand there are certain common issues and features across the Subaru lineup that are almost universal. These traits can be a selling point for the Subaru or can be a detriment, depending on what you are looking for in a car.
Subaru cars are known for being dependable and versatile cars that can easily last for years and be customized with a wide range of features.
Reliability: Subaru cars are remarkably durable, and can easily travel over 300,000 miles with no problems, even without regular maintenance.
Customization: Subaru cars can fit a wide range of modifications, both practical performance enhancers like superchargers and comfort items like seat covers.
Subaru cars are lacking in both style and power, since most are designed to be affordable and steady vehicles so form and engine strength are not top priorities for the company.
Lack of Style: Due to their focus on affordability and durability, Subaru cars tend to lack flashy special functions, luxury items, and decorative features.
Lack of Power: Subaru cars tend to have low horsepower engines and their lack of a proper towing package means they are not designed to pull heavy weights like trailers.
It is not uncommon for companies to make and sell their products on multiple continents to help them reach different markets. Subaru in particular has one plant in Japan and one in the United States, both of which produce a variety of cars. If you have any questions about Subaru or car manufacturing, comment with them below.
Hi, I am Brad. Car Independent is your source for independent views on cars and car accessories. Whether you looking to buy a new car or something cool for your car, you have many options. My aim to help you make the best-informed choices.