Quality is the foundation of “Enjoyment and Peace of Mind,” SUBARU’s core value, and delivering quality is one of our most fundamental responsibilities to our customers. Quality enhancement is the most important theme in the mid-term management vision “STEP,” and we are reviewing all business processes, from product planning and parts procurement by suppliers, to production and shipping at our plants, to after-sales service, and implementing reforms. For the SUBARU Group, quality enhancement serves as an essential foundation for our sustainable growth. This is because it enables us to remain sensitive to changes in customers’ expectations of the quality they expect from SUBARU, as well as to help us overcome this once-in-a-century period of major transformation in automobile manufacturing and become the brand that customers continue to choose for “Enjoyment and Peace of Mind.”
To ensure that we become a company that resonates with and inspires trust in our customers, under the banner of our new quality policy, all employees are making “quality first” their slogan. This instills a quality-first awareness as they work hard to provide high-quality products and services that will impress customers. SUBARU has also established quality policies at affiliated companies in Japan and overseas in accordance with the business content of each company and regional characteristics, and affiliated companies practice quality control based on these policies.
In FYE March 2021, we established the Quality Assurance Management Office to supervise quality assurance across the entire SUBARU Group, including the Aerospace Company. The roles of the office will include developing and managing the SUBARU Group’s organizational structure and systems required to assure quality, maintaining their effectiveness, and continually improving them. By pursuing quality that our customers can use with peace of mind for many years to come, we will work to realize the SUBARU Group’s goal of an enjoyable and sustainable society.
At SUBARU, quality is our highest priority as we earn the trust of our customers.
- We will deliver long-lasting products that our customers can use with peace of mind.
- We will continually improve our products and services by always listening closely to our customers’ voice.
- We will be a good corporate citizen in all markets where we do business by ensuring compliance with all internal rules, local laws, regulations and social norms.
Revised in April 2019
Quality Management System
- Establish Quality Management System (QMS) based on the Quality Policy and ISO 9001 Standard and put it into practice for orderly and effective operations.
- Aim to improve customer satisfaction by assuring that products will comply with both customer requirements and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
- Strive to continually improve the QMS through operational improvements.
With its QMS, SUBARU works to assure quality in each process from design and development to sales as well as creating a cycle to create even higher quality products. In addition, SUBARU strives to work through this cycle swiftly in order to meet customer needs without any delay.
Quality Management Cycle
The SUBARU Group has established a quality improvement system with the Quality Assurance Division at the heart of efforts in order to analyze after-sales quality defects and customer requests to realize higher-quality development and production. Based on customers’ opinions collected from around the world, SUBARU works with the relevant in-house departments and suppliers in identifying quality issues, investigating their cause, and planning countermeasures.
In January 2021, we established FAST (Fast Action & Solution Team), a North American quality improvement team where quality assurance and development units at local affiliated companies in the U.S. work together with service units at dealerships in the U.S. and Canada. By strengthening cooperation between departments, immediate decisions can be made on-site, and market demands can be met more speedily.
Quality Improvement System
Structure of the FAST North American Quality Improvement Team
Quality Control Training
Since quality enhancement is one of the priority initiatives in our mid-term management vision, we provide in-house education on quality to all employees. Quality education is provided on an ongoing and regular basis tailored to employee knowledge and experience levels, including their year of entry into the Company and their position. This instills a customer-centric, quality-first awareness, educating each and every employee so that they put quality first in their actions.
Our quality improvement initiatives are also generating steady results. In the February 2022 issue of the U.S.-based “Consumer Reports” magazine, SUBARU ranked No. 1 among other brands, up from No. 3 the previous year, and the Forester was ranked No. 1 in the small SUV category. In the 2021 Axios Harris Poll 100, a ranking of U.S. brands, SUBARU received a number of very highly favorable ratings. It was ranked No. 14 out of 100 companies, and especially among the millennial generation, aged 25–34, it was ranked No. 2. When only compared to automobile manufacturers, it was ranked No. 1.
All SUBARU models have received extremely high evaluations in Japan and overseas for their safety performance, which is a particular focus for us. One example is the Legacy Outback, which won the JNCAP Five Star Vehicle Safety Performance 2021 Award, and the Levorg, which won the JNCAP Five Star Vehicle Safety Performance 2020 Award the year prior.
|JNCAP*1 Five Star Vehicle Safety Performance 2021 Award||Legacy Outback|
|IIHS*2 2022 TOP SAFETY PICK+*3 Winners (U.S.-specification Models)||SUBARU BRZ||(with optional EyeSight): (TSP+ for the first time)|
|Forester||(TSP for 16 consecutive years)|
|Crosstrek*4 Hybrid||(TSP+ for four consecutive years)|
|Legacy||(TSP for 17 consecutive years)|
|Outback||(TSP for 14 consecutive years)|
|Ascent||(TSP for 5 consecutive years)|
|IIHS 2022 TOP SAFETY PICK*3 Winners (U.S.-specification Models)||Impreza five-door (with optional EyeSight and specific headlights)||(TSP for 15 consecutive years)|
|Crosstrek (with optional EyeSight and specific headlights)||(TSP for 11 consecutive years)|
Global Quality Meeting
At the SUBARU Group, in order to instill a quality-first awareness, we attach great importance to dialogue with dealerships, as they are responsible for dealing with customers across the globe. We participate in technical liaison meetings held twice a year for the Japanese market, while in overseas markets, we take part in twice-yearly main dealerships (G8) service meetings and block conferences held in six regions.* We take in the views of dealerships expressed at these meetings to make decisions on the optimum means of addressing quality problems that inconvenience our customers. (In FYE March 2022, these were once again held as web conferences both for Japan and overseas.)
In addition, in order to listen to the voice of the market and speed up quality improvement, the Quality Improvement Committee, chaired by the Chief Quality Officer (CQO) and Chief General Manager of the Quality Assurance Division, holds monthly meetings to discuss quality at the executive level in all departments. Furthermore, the North America Quality Improvement Committee, which is comprised of the North America CQO and heads of North American subsidiaries, focuses on quality in the North American market and is held several times a year.
Since FYE March 2019, we have been holding an annual event called the Quality Caravan at all our business sites to inform participants of customer feedback and the quality status of SUBARU products. Our aim in doing so is to provide all employees with an accurate understanding of the current state of SUBARU and create an environment in which they are conscious of putting quality first at all times and approach their work in that mindset. In FYE March 2022, the caravan was held for all employees and Group company employees, revising content so as to take into account the most recent information and to prevent them from losing alertness about quality problems that inconvenienced our customers. This helps them to be constantly aware that their work is ultimately connected to the customer, and to instill a customer-centric, quality-first awareness. Not only are we engaging more business partners in these events, but Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc., SUBARU’s production base in the U.S., has also been organizing events to raise global awareness of quality across the entire SUBARU Group.
Going forward, we will continue to engage in awareness activities, while enhancing the program and extending the duration, among other improvements.
Initiatives with Business Partners
In order to maintain and improve the quality of SUBARU vehicles, we consider it extremely important to ensure the quality of all externally purchased parts. To this end, SUBARU has been carrying out various activities to promote voluntary improvements by business partners and to maintain and improve quality together with all business partners.
As part of its regular activities, SUBARU has taken a number of actions to build a foundation on which SUBARU and its business partners can work together based on a common awareness of concepts regarding quality maintenance and improvement. This includes developing a manual for all business partners that summarizes the standards and rules for built-in quality and ensuring stable quality.
In addition, in order to address the ever-changing environment, we hold briefing sessions on our Quality Policy for all business partners at the beginning of each fiscal year to share information about a range of quality-related situations. KPIs are set for quality targets and key quality indicators to be achieved in the short and medium term, and we present quality improvement measures, key points for enhancing quality, and other information as concretely as possible. Through direct communication from SUBARU, we deepen business partners’ understanding and build a system that can flexibly respond to changes in the environment. This common awareness of our Quality Policy enables close cooperation between business partners and SUBARU at all stages, from development to mass production, promoting integrated quality assurance activities.
As an example of our activities, we support regular voluntary audits of quality assurance systems and quality management systems at our business partners and provide advice from a third-party perspective. In addition to regular audits, SUBARU directly observes business partners’ manufacturing processes and production sites. Here, we conduct audits and process checkups on an ad-hoc basis, offer proposals for productivity improvement, and otherwise engage collaboratively to further improve quality. Furthermore, by following the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) process, our activities also help our business partners improve their own capabilities, contributing to overall quality improvement. These unified efforts between SUBARU and its business partners ensure the quality of externally manufactured parts.
In recent years, where the external environment has become extremely uncertain, parts supplies issues have arisen due to large-scale natural disasters and shifting world affairs. Amid this situation, we have also established support systems for our business partners in order to help quickly restore parts supplies in the event of an emergency.
Response to Recalls
The SUBARU Group takes measures to cope with recalls in order to prevent accidents, in accordance with our highest priority placed on customer safety.
We have established the Recall Committee to determine specific measures to be taken in the event of product defects that can infringe on safety or laws and regulations. This committee is chaired by the CQO and Chief General Manager of the Quality Assurance Division, and was established based on customer suggestions and defect information from around the world and in accordance with internal regulations. Regional representatives from our customers also participate in this decision-making process to determine what action we will take so as to incorporate not only legal and regulatory aspects in each country, but also the mindset of placing the highest priority on customer safety. Once determined, we promptly notify the relevant authorities of the recall. Affected customers are contacted by direct mail and other methods from our dealerships to encourage them to promptly have their car repaired free of charge, with their safety and peace of mind as our top priority. This information is also posted on our website on the recall notification date. The ratio of the number of vehicles for which improvement measures have been completed to the number of vehicles subject to recall is aggregated and reported to government agencies.
As of April 2022, SUBARU had no cases of violating laws and in-house regulations in regard to information provision on quality and safety.
Recalls of SUBARU Cars
Number of Recalls and Improvements
|Number of Cases||2018||2019||2020||2021||2022|
Recalls in FYE March 2022 (Global)*1
|Country/Region||Number of Cases|
Takata Airbag Recall Progress
SUBARU’s progress in responding to the Takata airbag recall in the U.S. (as of May 2022) is among the highest in the industry, as shown in the table below.
Takata airbag recall progress in the U.S.
|No.||Automobile manufacturer||Progress rate|
|1||U.S. company A||98%|
|2||European company B||94%|
|3||Japanese company C||91%|
|5||European company D||89%|