“It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru” is more than just an advertising tagline – it’s a philosophy for the Japanese car company. And over at Fortune Magazine, the staff chose to delve in, research and determine what exactly it is that makes a Subaru, a Subaru.

After nearly 45 years in the U.S. market, Subaru of America is currently celebrating a number of achievements. Most notably, Subaru became the only manufacturer with an entire product line of vehicles awarded “top safety picks” by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

Safety has often been a hallmark of Subaru, and until the introduction of the BRZ sports coupe it was almost common knowledge that every Subaru came standard with the security and safety of all-wheel-drive. Today all-wheel-drive continues to come standard on all Subaru Legacy, Impreza, Forester, Outback and XV Crosstrek models. The BRZ forgoes this system in order to appeal to enthusiasts who prefer that power be sent exclusively to the rear wheels.

Subaru’s achievements have not gone unnoticed by the press, and as Fortune Magazine points out “Consumer Reports rates Subaru above Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and every other manufacturer in performance, comfort, utility, and reliability, and says the company makes the best cars in America. ALG (formerly Automotive Lease Guide), the industry’s arbiter of residual value and used-car prices, named Subaru the leader in retained value among mainstream brands.”

Even more importantly, consumer demand for Subaru vehicles continues to increase. While Fortune Magazine notes that, “By itself, the Toyota Camry outsells the entire Subaru lineup,” the magazine also points out that “Subaru is currently running with a 45-day supply, compared with the 65 days that are considered optimal in the auto industry.”

Such a short supply can be attributed to both continued growth by the company within the automotive industry, as well as an intelligent business strategy by corporate bigwigs within Subaru of America.

One part of this strategy is for the automaker to increase U.S. sales to 350,000 units per year by 2016; a goal that seems attainable for the company given the success of the redesigned Subaru Impreza. As Fortune Magazine states: “Sales [of the new Impreza] have doubled from a year ago, and dealers have less than a two-week supply.”

Subaru has come a long way since it first came to the U.S. in 1968 and sold the diminutive 360 microcar. Yet, along the way the company has kept to a core philosphy of selling cars that were quirky, fuel efficient, reliable and fun. Though the company is continuing to expand, Subaru’s relatively dimunitive marketshare of only slightly more than 2% of the automotive market means that the company hasn’t let global domination take over its corporate values.

Subaru isn’t trying to become the next General Motors or Toyota (though Toyota does own 16.5% of Subaru’s parent company Fuji Heavy Industries). Rather than putting sales first Subaru is instead putting the customer first. This philosophy is in many ways what makes a Subaru, a Subaru. To read even more about what makes a Subaru, a Subaru, and to learn more about the company’s history visit fortunemagazine.com.