Isuzu Motors is a commercial vehicle and diesel engine manufacturer based out of Tokyo, Japan. The company was founded in 1916 and has produced several models of automobiles alongside commercial vehicles and buses during its history. Isuzu diesel engines can be found in vehicles in countries all over the world. For example, General Motors uses their engines for some of its applications.
The history of Isuzu Motors begins in 1916. It was in this year that Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering Co partnered with Tokyo Gas and Electrical Industrial Co to build automobiles. The first automobile the company produced as the Wolseley A-9 model car. Though the Isuzu name had not yet been created, this was effectively the first Isuzu car.
It wasn’t until 1934 that the name Isuzu was put into use. The company named a line of its automobiles after the Isuzu River in Japan. The name continued to be used for a number of different products. Only in 1949 was the name Isuzu adopted as the company’s official name.
It was around this same time that Isuzu really started to become a leader in the manufacturer of commercial trucks and buses. It as also around this time that Isuzu’s first official model car, the Bellel, hit the market. Unfortunately, the first handful of Isuzu automobile models were not commercially successful. They were deemed too large and pricey for the Japanese market of the time.
Isuzu once again focused its energy on the commercial market though it continued to co-develop a number of automobiles with a handful of different partners. In 1972, GM bought 34% stake in the company. Shortly thereafter, the Isuzu-built Chevrolet LUX became the company’s first vehicle to be sold in the United States. The success of this model led Isuzu to greatly increase their exports to foreign countries.
Isuzu began to market their consumer and commercial vehicles under their brand name in the United States starting in 1981. The P’Up was the first model sold in this market as an Isuzu.
A number of Isuzu models followed the P’Up in the North American market. The company continued producing automobiles up until the middle of the 2000s. At this time, they discontinued their current models and replaced their focus on commercial vehicles. Today, Isuzu does not produce any consumer vehicles. The company produces only commercial vehicles and diesel engines.
Today, Isuzu Motors is primarily known for its trucks of all sizes. After the company’s automobile sales drastically plummeted in the late 1990s, they were forced to discontinue all of their sedan and compact car models.
Though it isn’t necessarily the company’s official flagship model, the Isuzu D-Max is their most popular current model. It is also the vehicle that they spend most of their marketing efforts on.
The D-Max is a pickup truck that shares the same platform as several other trucks produced by General Motors in the United States. These include the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon. The Isuzu D-Max is currently the company’s top-selling model in the majority of its markets including Thailand, Australia, Europe, South Africa, Asia, and South America. It is not currently offered for sale in North America.
Though the specifications of the vehicle are slightly different depending on the market, the D-Max is usually sold with one of two diesel engines. These include a 2500cc engine or a 3000cc four-cylinder engine. Both 2-Wheel Drive and 4-Wheel Drive models of the truck are available.
One of the highlights of the Isuzu D-Max is its rugged ladder-frame chassis. The platform is dubbed the i-GRIP for Isuzu Gravity Responsive Intelligent Platform. The chassis increases strength by 42% and leads to improved ride and handling. It also improves stability while towing.
A special model of the Isuzu D-Max has been available in Thailand since 2012. Dubbed the “X-Series,” the model features special interior and exterior details that increase luxury and performance.
Isuzu Motors currently produces a limited line of consumer vehicles. None of them are currently available in North American markets. These current models include the Panther MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle), the D-Max Pickup Truck, the MU-7 Midsize SUV, and the Mu-X Pickup truck.
In addition to manufacturing these consumer models, Isuzu currently offers a number of models of commercial vehicles. Indeed, this area is the company’s main focus of business.
Current Isuzu commercial models include the Elf Light Duty Truck, the Forward Medium Duty Truck, the Giga Heavy Duty Truck, the Gala Heavy Duty Bus, the Gala Mio Medium Duty Bus, the Erga Low Deck Heavy Duty Bus, the Erga-J Heavy Duty Bus, the Erga Mio Low Deck Medium Duty Bus, the Journey Light Duty Bus, the Journey-J Medium Duty Bus, the H-Series Heavy Duty Truck (United States only), and the Reach Commercial Van. The Isuzu Reach, in particular, is one of the company’s best-selling commercial models as it boasts 35% better fuel economy than most other vehicles in its class.