November 27, 2009 / 9:28 AM / 9 years ago

FACTBOX-Five facts about Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries

TOKYO, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd (7270.T), owned 16.5 percent by Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), has bucked the industry’s sales slide in the key U.S. market thanks to the popularity of its Forester and Legacy models.

While most analysts expect the new Legacy to keep contributing to growth in the October-March second half, the company faces the long-overdue task of improving its profitability. (For a related story click [ID:nT36225]

Following are five facts about Fuji Heavy, the smallest of Japan’s eight passenger car makers. The Tokyo-based company company sells cars under the brand Subaru, the Japanese word for the Pleiades star cluster.

* Established in 1953 in Tokyo. Traces its roots to Nakajima Aircraft Co, founded in 1917 and broken up by the Allied Powers upon Japan’s defeat in World War Two. Its aircraft division supplies to Japan’s Defense Ministry, Boeing Co (BA.N) and other commercial aircraft makers.

* Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) was Fuji Heavy’s top shareholder for about 30 years until 1999. Nissan sold its 20 percent stake to General Motors [GM.UL] when it came under Renault SA’s (RENA.PA) control that year. In 2005, cash-strapped GM sold off its entire stake, part of which went to Toyota, which later doubled its stake to the current 16.5 percent. * Has two car factories in Japan. Its sole overseas car plant is in the U.S. state of Indiana, where half of the 200,000-units-a-year capacity is used to build Toyota’s Camry sedans.

* Best known for its unique horizontally opposed “boxer” engine and symmetrical all-wheel-drive vehicle platform. Porsche (PSHG_p.DE) is the only other automaker to mass-produce cars with a boxer, or flat, engine.

* Current president Ikuo Mori is only the second chief executive, following his predecessor, Kyoji Takenaka, to hail from Fuji Heavy proper. During the first half-century, the company was led by executives seconded from either Nissan or the former Industrial Bank of Japan, its main creditor at the time. (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim) ((ran.kim@thomsonreuters.com; +81-3-6441-1804; Reuters Messaging: ran.kim.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com))

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