• Dec 24, 2009
We're not entirely sure what to make of reports regarding Isuzu's tie-up with General Motors for diesel engines that seem to conflict with one another, but here we go anyway. According to Bloomberg, Isuzu is considering whether it should end its joint venture with The General for the production of large-displacement Duramax diesel engines.

PickupTrucks.com adds that GM has its own excellent team of diesel engine specialists that are fully capable of designing the automaker's next heavy duty truck engines. In fact, the 4.5-liter diesel that had been planned for light duty applications was wholly engineered by GM. Okay, got it.

But wait. According to Green Car Advisor (sadly without citing sources), Isuzu has proposed that it develop a new HD diesel engine for GM. Both reports could be true; Isuzu may have decided that it should continue to work with GM, and that could have led to the proposal, but we can't say for sure.

GCA also indicates (again, without citing a source) that GM and Isuzu are also in talks that would have the Japanese company take the lead in developing new pickup trucks for Southeast Asia and South America. GM's current Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups share common underpinnings with trucks that Isuzu developed for overseas sales.

[Source: Bloomberg, PickupTrucks.com, Green Car Advisor]


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  • 17 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think automakers should work much closer together. Ford really has no luxury brand and Acura could use a V8. Ford has a V8 that it uses in a Mustang and again they are not in any competition with Acura. Why can't both come to an agreement to buy those engines, Ford will get a nice, guaranteed supply of money, Acura will get a V8 for which it did not have to spend development money and which will allow Acura to really take on BMW,Benz,Audi and Caddy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        1) Honda would need a RWD platform for said V8 to go into. a FWD compatible V8 would make more sense. what does Ford have there? i can't think of anything currently in production... at least in the NA market.

        2) Ford and GM are direct competitors and they made that 6-speed auto together.

        3) GM was buying those Honda V6s to use in the Saturn Vue. Honda in turn got a small GM diesel to use in the euro Civics.

        4) Honda got the entire Isuzu Rodeo and Isuzu Trooper before (in the US)... and they traded Isuzu entire small cars for them to sell in Japan.

        5) Honda made entire Rovers before. including that Sterling model we got in the US. basically an Acura Legend with a new interior.

        probably more examples i am not thinking of right now...

        of all the mainstream manufacturers Honda certainly seems more likely to do such a thing... though Isuzu has done it plenty (not nearly as big as Honda though). but the exact example of a Mustang V8 in an Acura doesn't seem super likely.
      • 5 Years Ago
      For some reason I thought they were dead.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't think so much dead as delayed. But GM's been revving up development lately. And word is the new 4.5 diesel is a fantastic piece of engineering.

        So I'm hoping they'll punch it up and get it going.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't understand. Isuzu wants out of the partnership because demand is sluggish but wants to develop and offer a new engine for GM? Seems to me that they want to continue supplying GM with engines but not be associated in any corporate joint venture with GM (e.g DMAX )
      • 5 Years Ago
      HEY GM, how about a light duty diesel. I imagine a lot of people don't want to pay $40k for a bare bones 2500 HD for the diesel. Why not make one for the 1500 trucks? Or even a small turbo diesel for the Colorado/Canyon, sure you can drop a 5.3L V8 for it so why not a small displacement diesel engine?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ blckstrm

        I was fully aware about the 4.5L diesel that GM has developed, but the question is, Are they going to use it? They've been talking about a light duty diesel for a few years now, its like beating a dead horse with this stuff.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Seriously. At some point I want to swap my Colorado for a full size pickup, specifically so I can tow a travel trailer for vacations. A diesel option instead of a the 5.3L or 6.0L V8 would go a long way towards making me pick a 1500 over a 2500
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think you need to inform yourself about the 4.5 liter turbodiesel that GM developed in-house that was mentioned in the article.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Personally? I'd love to see more diesel options across the entire GM line, a Chevy Malibu with a modern 2L diesel would be excellent for American needs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Also, what I didn't say in my original post, The American automakers should have started developing small displacement diesels when fuel prices went up 10 years ago. Unfortunately they did not want to upset the Baby Boomers who still had the bad taste in their mouth from GM's diesel mistake in the late 70s/early 80's and SUVS were all the craze, so they needed to pump out as many as possible.
        • 5 Years Ago
        blckstrm,
        4.5 liter is still a fairly large engine. Especially with the amount of power they can squeeze out of them these days. Something in the 2 liter range would be plenty for the Colorado/canyon or passenger vehicle applications.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's true - a lot of the reason at least GM has stayed away was their earlier mistakes - it left a bad taste in their mouths for diesels.

        And we went around and around on whether to chop the new V8 into a V6 and put it into smaller things like the H3 or doing diesels in cars first. But powertrain and planning finally settled on a rollout schedule. Guess when this all made it into the plan? Somewhere between spring and summer of 2008.

        By December that dream was over.

        Generally speaking, since our current tax scheme has been in place, diesel prices versus gas prices just don't make it worth switching in the US - especially with all the new regs on tap for diesel and new tech like HCCI coming.

        If it's not a clear financial win over 3-5 years, it doesn't make sense. Hybrids make sense, but only because of the image thing - something diesel has a long way to go (at least in the US) on to achieve parity image-wise. Not a realistic thing ever, really, on that front.
      • 5 Years Ago
      so Isuzu engineered and makes the duramax diesel, hmm learn something new everyday...So the big American truck is part Isuzu.....
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, Level. Don't get your panties in a bunch. GM engineered and designed the engine and contracted the manufacturing to Izuzu.
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