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Isuzu has officially announced that it's leaving the U.S. market and discontinuing sales of its i-Series pickup and Ascender SUV. Both vehicles are produced via a joint venture with General Motors, the i-Series being based on the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon pickups and the Ascender being a rebadged version of the Chevy Trailblazer. Reuters reports that it will cost Isuzu some $37 million to bug out, mostly in dealer buyouts and other move-related costs. Though the Japanese automaker will not be selling vehicles in the States, it will continue to provide parts for service. Its reason for leaving is basically that GM has no plans to replace the Colorado/Canyon and Trailblazer with models that Isuzu could rebadge, and the automaker has no plans to develop its own new models for North America.

Isuzu's sales have been extremely weak in the U.S. these past few years. Last year it sold just 7,906 units, down from 15,751 units in 2006. We can't say that we're crushed that Isuzu is leaving, although we do remember a time when Isuzu sold more than just trucks, back when the brand's image was shaped by a guy named Isuzu Joe (see commercial after jump). Remember the Impulse, Lotus-tuned Stylus (the last car sold by Isuzu in the U.S. from 1990 - 1993, and one we wouldn't mind owning ourselves), the wild VehiCROSS and sharply styled Axiom? Yes, we can remember better times for Isuzu in the U.S., but recent bad times have led the automaker to this decision. Farewell, Isuzu! Read Isuzu's official press release after the jump.

[Source: Reuters via Pickuptruck.com]


Isuzu to End North American SUV Sales

Isuzu Motors Limited (President Susumu Hosoi; "Isuzu") has decided to end its North American SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) new vehicle sales business as of January 31. 2009.

This decision to end the SUV new vehicle sales business was made because there are no forecasts for continuation of the SUV business through introduction of a next-generation vehicle model or a Isuzu-made model to replace the GM-OEM vehicle currently being marketed (Ascender and i-series pick-up trucks). The SUV parts and service business will continue.

Currently, Isuzu's North American business comprises the three businesses of CV (trucks), SUV and PT (diesel engines and components).

In the CV business, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America (ICTA) carries out sales primarily of light duty vehicle as N Series (ELF in Japan). In the SUV business, Isuzu Motors America (ISZA) carries out sales of OEM vehicle from GM, and in the PT business, ISZA carries out sales of industrial diesel engines and components. With this decision to end SUV operations, Isuzu's North American business will focus on the CV and PT businesses.

Isuzu's North American SUV business began with the establishment of American Isuzu Motors Inc. in 1980 (AIMI later merged with ISZA), and in 1999 sales surpassed 100,000 units annually. In 2002, Isuzu introduced GM-OEM vehicle. However, by 2007, the total number of units sold fell to around 7,000 units for the year.

In the CV business, Isuzu last year implemented measures to strengthen its North American sales structure as part of its efforts to strengthen cab over truck sales globally, and aided in part by the expansion of CV units sold in North America, in the mid-term management plan that commences this year, Isuzu is targeting overseas truck sales of 350,000 units.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can't think of the last time i saw an Isuzu on the road.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I had an 86 Trooper that I bought with a leaky main gasket and over 120k on the clock. I never pushed it too hard and it loved to grunt around the Az desert for the 2 years I had it. I put 65k on it as a utility truck and loved it. The guy I sold it to rapped it up to 35 in first gear on the way home and blew out the gasket completely. I told him to treat it gently, but he didn't listen. Oh well, bye Isuzu.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Who knows, maybe I can pick up one of those i280 pickups for dirt cheap by the year's end. Honestly now, what difference does the brand mean if they share the same mechanicals?
      • 7 Years Ago
      If Subaru doesn't watch its P's and Q's (another company GM has filandered with here and there alot over the years), I fear they'll eventually end up down the same road as Isuzu. Right now Isuzu pretty much as a lock on the tree-hugger market, and performance die-hards who snap up the WRX cars. But outside of that, sales are marginal at best.

      Speaking of Mitsubishi... I gotta give props where they are due. I had all but written them off two years ago. Someone got a fire lit under their a$$ and figured out how to build cool cars young people like again over there just as DaimlerChrysler was breaking off the DSM partnership.

      Joe Isuzu was actually David Leisure, most famous for his role on Empty Nest.
      • 7 Years Ago

      "I agree they should have partnered with Mitsubishi and really sock it to the General instead of rebadging garbage trucks under the Isuzu name."

      They should form a partnership with Mitsubishi, Suzuki.the 3 companies GM used and abused!
      • 7 Years Ago
      My first car was an Impulse Turbo. Tons of fun. Vaya con dios, Isuzu.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Figures. MSN Autos had a poll a couple of years ago that posed the question, "Which automaker's gonna pull outta the US?" I knew it was gonna be Isuzu...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Uh, that's Joe Isuzu not "Isuzu Joe"
      • 7 Years Ago
      About damn time.

      Although I liked my '98 Hombre. Tough little truck with a better warranty than it's mechanical twin, the S-10/Sonoma.

      But therin lies the problem. Selling re-badged GM trucks will only get you so far. It's a shame the Axiom, Vehicross, etc didn't take off. They were nice vehicles, if a bit... odd.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Isuzu hit a homerun with the original trooper, but was never able to truly capitalize on its success. It was actually the 4x4 of the year in 84 or 85 if I remember correctly. Hell, it even had a Diesel available in it until 86. Those things are now worth quite a bit surprisingly. Isuzu is known particularly for one thing, its diesel tech. The general new this and this is why GM had such a substantial investment in Isuzu. Since GM had nothing to combat either the International Powerstroke that Ford was using or the Cummins that Dodge was using, they turned to Isuzu and did quite well. Had Isuzu really wanted to turn around flagging sales, they should have reintroduced something like the original trooper with a very fuel efficient, yet sufficiently powerful diesel and corned the niche market that everyone is crying about not being serviced. Hell, the sole reason Mahindra is even making a bid for US Market share is specifically because this niche isn't being serviced. Isuzu was in far better shape to take advantage of this lack of product in the N. American market since it already had the existing dealership network and service infrastructure in place. Oh well.... C'est La Vie Isuzu, you will be missed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Troopers were tough. Boxy, ugly vehicles but tough nonetheless. I have fond memories of going road tripping with friends after high school: It was my friend's father's truck and he got us lost after claiming to know his way through "roads" near the Blue Mountain range in Jamaica. After running out of diesel miles away from any real roads or civilization, the only thing we had access to was kerosene. Some locals were kind enough to give us some and that sucker fired right up and we made it to the next gas station.
      Since then, I've always had a soft spot for the ugly little SUV.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Isuzu has been actively recruiting and adding new dealers as recent as 4th quarter of 2007.
      No sense at all.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yes, that's actually very true. They have approached an old dealer I worked at and tried to get us to switch numerous times. I'm suprised they were so active then POOF, we give up.
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