By on April 13, 2011

The German Manager Magazin will write in its print edition that Volkswagen is considering buying all or part of Isuzu, the diesel-centric Japanese truck and commercial vehicle manufacturer. Volkswagen even has a codename for the deal: “Irene.”  Another possibility: the truck firm MAN, which VW owns 30% of, could buy up an Isuzu stake, allowing VW to craft a three-part truck alliance between MAN, Scania and Isuzu. VW’s board member in charge of commercial trucks, Jochem Heizmann, is reportedly in Tokyo pursuing the acquisition and has inspected Isuzu. Toyota’s six percent stake in Isuzu (not to mention VW’s distractions integrating its Porsche and Suzuki alliances) could be serious obstacles. As VW and Toyota battle for the position of world’s largest automaker, Isuzu could become a symbolic battleground for the outsized ambitions of these two industry titans.

UPDATE: VW tells Automotive News [sub] that an Isuzu takeover is “not on the agenda.” Does that mean they’re not looking into the possibility? At this point, it’s not clear.

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16 Comments on “Breaking: Volkswagen Pursuing Isuzu?...”

  • avatar

    Isuzu is the Brazil of car companies – always on the verge of a bright future, and has been for fifty years.

    • 0 avatar


      Good comparison VanillaDude. Normally I don’t agree very much with what you say, but you’re spot on here. BTW, Brazil has been on the verge of a bright future for 500 years. I guess Isuzu could wait a while longer…

      Now as to VW, do they really need that much help with trucks? Is the Amarok doing so badly? Do they really need another brand? What’s up with that?

      • 0 avatar

        Since VW is famous for electrical gremlins, they probably need Japanese expertise to better compete with Daimler on the truck front.

      • 0 avatar

        I thought about you when I wrote that!

        The reason you don’t agree with me much of what I say is because your view is different from mine. Tell you what, I will continue to read and think carefully of what you write regarding Brazil, if you read and think carefully of what I write about regarding America. I might not know Portugese, but English is not my only language and I do bring another perspective courtesy of an education experienced in Europe. Yeah – I’m conservative and libertarian, but I’m not ignorant or stupid.

        VW has a good record with turning around companies like Seat, and renewing legacy companies like Skoda. Yet when considering Isuzu, there is a reason why previous sincere and costly investments and partnerships have not worked, and this history should be heeded. As an American, I am aware that Germans, especially Western Germans have more than a touch of Zwangsgemutlichkeit, as we do, but this should be avoided because Isuzu seems to be a difficult company to cozy up to, or charm.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey VanillaDude,

        Like I said, many a time I don’t agree with you. That, however, does not mean I don’t try to understand your point of view nor dismiss what you say out of hand. In fact, many times I find what you say entertaining and I always learn a thing or two from your contributions. In other words, I value your opinion very much sir!

        Now, Skoda yeah, they’re on a roll. Seat? Could go away tomorrow and only Spanish would lament…

        Germans working with Japanese? Seems like communications between Suzuki and VW suffers from noises. On the other hand, our very own Bertel and his lovely wife prove it can be done.

        The question remains though, does VW need Isuzu?

      • 0 avatar

        As far as culture goes, Germans and Japanese are frighteningly close ….

  • avatar

    I’m not going to say much here other than I always liked the Vehicross and it’s a shame it didn’t sell better. It was kind of the the Rally Fighter of its day, at least in its looks.

  • avatar

    The Isuzu-with-the-fat-lip pictured above kind of sums up that company in recent years.

    My mind tells me in this era of globalization, much more consolidation must take place for the fringe players to survive, if not the major OEMs.

    Brazil on the verge of greatness? By what standard? The west? Brazil seems to be the anchor of South America, both economically and culturally. It always impressed me, when as a young boy, I saw on TV (1960?) that they were building a new capitol city, Brasilia, out in the middle of nowhere. They succeeded!

    • 0 avatar

      Zackman, don’t belittle the Vehicross. It kind of failed in the market but at least it wasn’t a cookie-cutter SUV. They tried something different and deserve props for that. It actually was and is a pretty good off-roader, it just didn’t have enough space to be practical. I want one and one day maybe I’ll pick one up as a dedicated off-roader. They deserve points for trying to be different.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s been a lot of years since I sat in a Vehicross, but my most enduring impression is that outward visibility is poor. Not the hot ticket for an off-roader toy.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Zackman!

      In the sense that most of Brazil’s people still live in poverty, we are a big failure. Technical capacity apparently we have, as apparently we also have some financial wealth. we just have to learn to split it up amonst ourselves more evenly. If we get ot even Portuguese or Greek levels of social and equality levels in the next 10 to 20 yrs I’ll consider this country a success. Until then we should be called Belindia. 20% live like in Belgium, 80% live like in India’s poorest areas.

      • 0 avatar

        @MikeAR: Sorry. Not cutting it down, I just quoted a line someone wrote in a magazine describing the style. I saw a few of them around here, but it’s been awhile.

        @Marcelo: I didn’t realize that so many were on the poverty level down there. Do you consider those who live in the rain forest in a primitive fashion like their ancestors poor? Or, are you referring to the cities? In any case, like up here, there are many poor, sad either way. As a kudos to you, I enjoy your columns on here. Good job!

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks for compliments Zackman!

        As to rain forrest, unfortunatley I think at least 85% of the population now lives in urban areas. Can’t help to think but the old Indian hunter-gatherer lifestyle seems a lot healthier than the squalor that a lot of the urban poor have to endure.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    First Suzuki and now Isuzu… seems like VW want to mate with previous GM wifes. Is Subaru next?
    In any case, my question is… are they going to let them make cars again?
    In the SUV department they tried different, with both the VehiCross and the Axiom. The later one lives with some facelifting in GreatWall’s SUV range.
    Cars were also different.

  • avatar

    So had Guangdong Motors competely severed ties with Izusu? Or GM owns some of its shares?

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