Whether intentional or not, Subaru seems to be labeled as a “progressive” brand, and while their website contains the usual corporate gibberish about supporting and embracing “…the communities in which we live and work,” the company tends to put its money where its mouth is, openly supporting the LGBT community as well as motorsports and outdoors enthusiasts.
Now a group of women’s rights activists is challenging Subaru to stay consistent, by petitioning them to withdrawn from the Saudi Arabian market. The Middle Eastern nation is currently facing protests regarding their ban on female drivers, and the activists are admonishing Subaru for selling cars in the Saudi market, especially when a significant portion of Subaru drivers are female and their vehicles tend to be marketed towards women.
To its credit, Subaru has a history of making morally courageous but unpopular choices. One long forgotten instance was in the 1960s, when Arab nations threatened Japanese companies with a boycott if they chose to do business with Israel. Subaru ignored the ban, and the company has built up immense goodwill among Israeli motorists, with vehicles like the Impreza and Legacy have been wildly popular in Israel for decades. We wouldn’t hold our breath for Subaru to pull out of Saudia Arabia, but given the company’s history, we could be wrong.