Sayonara, Isuzu

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

Isuzu once had one of the most recognizable ad campaigns on the planet (you have my word on it!). Their Giugiaro-designed Impulse was considered one of the best-looking cars on the road. Honda thought their SUVs were good enough to rebadge, to get Honda and Acura into the growing SUV market. And now, after they've struggled along for the past five years with nothing more to offer than rebadged Chevy TrailBlazers and Colorados, Mobile Magazine reports they're officially abandoning the American market. It'll cost them about $37m to pull out, but they probably spend that much each year just keeping their American operation limping along. They'll still provide replacement parts for their existing models, but it's very doubtful you'll ever see a passenger vehicle with the Isuzu brand on it. If I’m lying, may lightning hit my mother.

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  • Jthorner Jthorner on Jan 31, 2008

    Isuzu publicly announce it's plan to exit the passenger vehicle business many years ago, at least in North America. This is but the final stage of that plan. Isuzu is a very old company which focused on trucks for the majority of it's lifetime. Isuzu's first cars were built under license from Hillman in the 1950s. The 1970s tie-up with GM led to Isuzu getting into the US passenger car and light truck (Chevy LUV) market and for a time Isuzu was Japan's third largest automotive company. But they were ill prepared to deal with the rising competitive pressures and by early in this decade were loosing over a billion dollars per year. That began the plan to cut back to being a diesel engine supplier and medium duty truck maker. You can see many of the plan documents at: All the way back in April 2003 Isuzu was already marching on the plan to exclusively become a commercial vehicles (CV) and diesel engine manufacturer. In 1999 GM bought 49% of Isuzu and effectively took control. Within a few years Isuzu was existing the passenger vehicle business. Within a decade GM sold it's interests. Now Toyota is a minority investor in Isuzu and is looking to use more of Isuzu's diesel expertise. So really this story belongs as a footnote to the GM Death Watch Series. You could call it GM Collateral Damage Watch. The number of GM collateral damage stories of note is huge. For example: "... Plastech Engineered Products Inc., can no longer elude the woes that have engulfed the domestic auto business. Her company, which makes door panels, floor consoles and engine covers, is on the financial brink."

  • Dave M. Dave M. on Feb 01, 2008

    IIRC, Isuzu made the "Opel by Buick" in the late 70's when importing Opels from Germany got too expensive....

  • Big_gms Big_gms on Feb 01, 2008

    Does anybody other than me find it ironic that there's an advertisement on this very web page for the Isuzu Ascender?

  • Kericf Kericf on Feb 01, 2008

    I have a 1998 Rodeo and it is about to hit 200,000 miles. I have only had some minor problems, leaky radiator and power steering pump, and I just changed the brakes for the first time at 180,000 miles. My wife loves the thing and won't let me trade it in. I used to have a 1996 Trooper that was the same way. Yes the things ride like tanks, and don't have punch you in the gut power, but we get about 18 to 20 mpg on commutes in the Rodeo and that ain't bad at all for a 4x4 SUV. I want to know why they never offered the Isuzu Truck they sell in the rest of the world (D-Max, or Denver or something). It has 2.5L N/A or Turbo Common-rail diesel that gets 28mpg city/40mpg highway and still tows 6,500 lbs. That would sell like hot cakes here. I don't know if it was blocking by GM not wanting something like that here or what, but I would kill for a truck with specs like this.