Subaru has built one million Forester compact SUVs in the nine years and three months since production began.
The one-millionth car was built on February 17: the first rolled off the line at the Gunma Yajima Plant in December 1996.
Developed around the basic concept of a crossover all-wheel drive Sports Utility Vehicle, blending the best features of an SUV and a passenger car, the Forester was designed to be a new type of high performance vehicle, suited to all driving conditions.
The first-generation Forester set a new world record with an average speed of 180.082km/h) in a 24-hour challenge in October 1996, certified by FIA and ACCUS. It set the record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in America.
That feat showcased the Forester's performance, durability, and reliability before it went on sale in Japan in February 1997, and in international markets later that year. It went on sale in America in July, and in Europe in September.
The current model, the second-generation Forester, was introduced in February 2002.
It had improvements to four key attributes: fundamental vehicle manoeuvrability and performance; comprehensive safety performance; comfort and usability; and powerful yet sophisticated design.
Worldwide Forester sales in 2005 totalled 119,743, a 6.2 percent increase on 2004. Remarkably, 83.2 percent of Forester sales were in international markets, the highest proportion of overseas sales among all Subaru models. That makes the Forester one of the most important vehicles in Subaru’s global strategy.
Current New Zealand market Foresters run 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated or turbocharged engines. An STi version of the Forester is also marketed here.