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Subaru celebrates 50 years in Australia

It’s 50 years since Subaru officially launched its Australian operations from when it has grown from a niche Japanese manufacturer to one of the most popular in the country.

Subaru models such as the Impreza, Liberty, Forester, Leone, Brumby, Outback, Levorg and SVX have each grown a fanatical following over the course of 50 years as the Japanese marque’s famous symmetrical all wheel drive system alongside its boxer engines proved a successful marketing tool into the 1990s.

It’s success on the showroom floor was matched in motorsport as the Subaru brand won 16 Australian Rally Championships of which 10 were achieved in a row between New Zealand ace Possum Bourne and his Australian apprentice Cody Crocker during a high point in local rallying.

Subaru came of age in the 1990s arguably off the back of the Impreza WRX as it became the halo model for young drivers on the road, providing an image rival manufacturers envied. To this day – 30 years on from its debut – it remains a desirable, yet attainable sports model.

The Vortex and SVX proved Subaru wasn’t a one-trick pony as it entered the highly competitive sportscar market during the late-1980s. It proved a radical departure from its previous models and led to further developments in the 1990s, including the aforementioned WRX.

Australians love of Subarus were born out of the reliable Brumby ute and Leone variants of the 1980s as both took to the rough terrain with ease earning the approval of farmers everywhere.

The Liberty and Forester continued this into the 1990s although much more refined than the predecessors of the previous decade as Subaru enjoyed a loyal following. In fact, the Forester this year achieved 300,000 sales in Australia earlier this year since its launch in 1997.

Although it officially launched its Australian operations in 1973, the public knew all about Subaru and its quirky models including 360 and the ff-1Star 1000.

Since the four-wheel-drive Leone became one of the first to introduce the technology to passenger models in 1973, Subaru has sold more than 20 million since globally.

The model range now is very different to 1973 as Subaru has expanded to the two-door coupe market with the Toyota-collaborated BRZ, but the Impreza still remains, as does the Outback, while the all new Solterra is its new electric offering.

To celebrate its half century, special models have been released spanning Subaru’s current line-up.