Isuzu Cutting Ties With GM?

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan

In the good old “SUV” days, GM forged ties with many companies. But since the bubble burst and GM went to the bankruptcy court, those ties are being severed. Fiat, gone. NUMMI, gone. Suzuki, gone. Now, another partner wants out. Bloomberg reports that Isuzu are looking to have talks with General Motors to review and possibly pull out of a joint venture. The joint venture in question is the DMAX diesel engine plant in Ohio, which may operate at 30% capacity next year. “Our venture in North America serves large-size vehicles, and there is definitely a question mark on that market,” Susumu Hosoi, President of Isuzu said. “I want to ask GM what their thinking is.”

Isuzu aren’t the only ones who think this may be a good idea. “It would be best for Isuzu to end its partnership with GM,” said Koichi Ogama, chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. in Tokyo. “The U.S. market will likely recover next year, but I don’t think demand for large vehicles like SUVs will recover.”. So while the market and Isuzu think termination of this joint venture would be good, GM have a different take.

“There are no plans to change the relationship with Isuzu in regard to the DMAX plant,” Tom Read, a GM spokesman in Warren, Michigan, said in an e-mail. Not only do Isuzu and GM have the DMAX plant in Ohio, they also have a diesel engine plant in Poland which is also under review by Isuzu. Are Isuzu right to keep their distance from GM? Well, if you ask Toyota, the answer is probably yes.

Cammy Corrigan
Cammy Corrigan

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6 of 11 comments
  • Moedaman Moedaman on Dec 22, 2009
    Susumu Hosoi, President of Isuzu said. “I want to ask GM what their thinking is.” People have been wanting to ask GM that question for years!
  • Nick Nick on Dec 22, 2009

    Isn't GM abandoning the Top Kick truck and it's sisterships? If that's the case, I would think that Isuzu would be more inclined to stick it out as GM is vacating a niche they could fill. Or not. (BTW trivia buffs when the last Top Kick rolls off the line that will be the last production Chevy big block (which traces its roots back to the '65 396). Of course, there are a myriad of Chevy-like blocks being churned out by other manufacturers.

  • Dave Skinner Dave Skinner on Dec 22, 2009
    "My guess would be that every single flat-nose Japanese medium truck on the US roads is also a diesel. " As a matter of fact, the Isuzu N-series is available with a diesel or a 6.0 liter Vortec (Chevy small block): So if Isuzu ends their partnership, who supplies their gas engine?
    • Steven02 Steven02 on Dec 22, 2009

      This partnership is only the ownership of this manufacturing plant. Other deals that GM have Isuzu have, and I am not sure what they are, would still be valid.

  • Odomeater Odomeater on Dec 22, 2009

    I see that the "portfolio manager" from Japan has a good read on this situation. Seeing as GM/Isuzu build so many SUV's with the Duramax Diesel motor. Note: Diesel NOT AVAILABLE in Tahoe, Yukon, Suburban etc. The Duramax is an option for 2500 and 3500 series pick up trucks and formerly in 4500/5500 series TopKick/Kodiak trucks. Now there is also a 7.8L diesel that Gm used in their medium duty trucks as well. And a 5.2L diesel used in cabover W series trucks.

    • Windnsea00 Windnsea00 on Dec 23, 2009

      GM shut down their medium duty truck line over the summer, so the 7.8 is out of the picture now.