Introduced in 1996 with a $500 RRP, the guitars were of higher quality than standard Squier guitars and featured ash bodies, satin finished necks and alnico pickups.
The line consisted of 6 Stratocasters, a Fat Stratocaster (Humbucker at the bridge position), a Fat Telecaster (Humbucker at the neck position) and a Thinline Telecaster as well as a 4 string and 5 string Precision Bass.
The series included the Supersonic guitar, the Venus guitar (co-designed by Courtney Love), the Jagmaster (a hybrid of the Fender Jaguar and Jazzmaster models), and a re-issue of the Musicmaster Bass.
Later, in 97, a guitar version of the Musicmaster Bass was added, though it should be noted this was based on the bass design, and not the Fender Musicmaster guitar design of the 1960s. Alongside the Vista series (which focused on contemporary designs) was the Pro Tone series, made in Korea at the Cort factory and focusing on classic models.
Tokai was seriously considered to start building the first Japanese made Fenders, but after a breakdown in negotiations, Fuji Gen Gakki was chosen instead.
The initial Squier models were launched on July/August 1982.
Fender was also losing sales in Japan to Japanese guitar brands such as Tōkai, Greco and Fernandes and the establishment of Fender Japan would benefit Fender sales in Japan, as well as overseas.
Fender began negotiations with several Japanese musical instrument distributors and reached an agreement with Yamano Gakki and Kanda Shokai to establish Fender Japan.
In 1996, Squier began to manufacture the Vista Series, which saw them introducing their own unique guitar designs independent from the Fender mother company for the first time.
Made in the same factory as the Japanese Fenders of the era, they were known as high quality guitars.