Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) is the parent of Subaru of America, the automotive company known for its all-wheel-drive (AWD) technology found in cross-over vehicles (a sedan drive with SUV looks), such as the Forester and Outback, and in the Impreza, Legacy, and Tribeca models. Through some 70 subsidiaries, FHI has manufacturing operations in China, Japan, Taiwan, and the US, where it operates through Subaru of America. Other FHI businesses include Aerospace (aircraft and structural components), Industrial Products (general-purpose engines), and Eco Technologies (sanitation trucks and wind power systems). However, automobiles account for more than 90% of sales.
The company had been recovering nicely from the economic crisis that saw sales drop in 2009 until the devastating earthquake struck Japan in March 2011. Sales were back up and FHI returned to profitability in fiscal 2010 and 2011 after instituting a management plan whereby directors gave up bonuses and compensation, with other senior management accepting 10% reductions. The company cut shifts and redundant jobs at Japan plants, and reduced its car output by tens of thousands of units. Instead of building a new plant for the Subaru BRZ sports car (jointly developed with Toyota), FHI used an existing plant. Subaru also decided in 2011 to stop making minicars (called kei cars), which were only sold in Japan.
With production in Japan shut down for a month because of the earthquake, FHI was well aware that it needs to focus on overseas sales, specifically in China and the US, in order to grow. Overall, the company sold about 657,000 Subarus in fiscal 2011, up 17% from 563,000 in 2010. And for the first time, overseas sales accounted for the majority (61%) of revenue in 2011. In the US, its top market, FHI sold 279,000 vehicles, up from 227,000 in 2010, from the country's 620 dealerships. Japan is the company's second-largest market, and in China, its third-largest market, FHI sold 62,000 cars, up from 49,000 in 2010. The company plans to open 250 dealerships in China by 2015. It also entered into the Korean market in 2010, with an initial sales goal of 600 Forester, Legacy, and Outback models, and signed an agreement in mid-2011 with Tan Chong to produce and distribute Subarus in Malaysia.
The company continues to develop and refine its AWD technology, focusing on new technology like the Boxer diesel engine, which runs cleaner and with less vibration. The Boxer made its debut in the Impreza and Forester, which were launched in 2009, and the Subaru XV crossover vehicle, still in its conceptual phase. Additionally, FHI is developing a clean diesel engine to hit the market in 2011, as well as a gasoline-electric hybrid model for release in 2012. The company's electric Stella came out in Japan in 2009 but is limited to corporate users. In preparation for a broader line of electric vehicles, FHI allied with Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors, and Tokyo Electric Power to develop rapid rechargers for electric vehicles.
The company has entered into an alliance with Toyota and Daihatsu to strengthen the companies' competitiveness through shared technology, R&D, and product supply. Toyota doubled its stake in Subaru to over 16%, improving the capital on hand for Subaru in return for taking advantage of some of Subaru's engineering. Toyota builds Camrys at Subaru's US plant in Indiana, and together the two are developing and marketing the Subaru BRZ, a compact rear-wheel-drive sports car, which is expected to be released in 2012.
Fuji Industrial Products holds a large share in the global general-purpose engine market with more than 2,000 models, one of which is the Robin engine, which is sold in more than 70 countries. Fuji's Eco Technologies supplies vehicles (Fuji Mighty sanitation truck) used to collect and transport waste products, as well as wind-power systems. Its Clean Robot division was the first to commercialize floor-cleaning robots for high-rise buildings.
Fuji Aerospace manufactures main wings and other structural aircraft components. It is the primary contractor of the AH-64D combat helicopter to the Japan Defense Agency (JDA). Fuji Aerospace also supplies JDA with fixed-wing aircraft and primary trainers, and manufactures components for Boeing aircraft (767/777); its center wing box is part of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Other technology includes unmanned aircraft and development of a Fuji Aerial Robot (FABOT) system that uses GPS navigation and handles takeoffs and landings by small, fixed-wing aircraft. – less