Isuzu – Japanese Motorcar Company, one of the world largest producers of middle and heavy-loaded trucks and buses.
History started in 1916 with the foundation of Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. industrial group. The first light vehicle per sample of English car was constructed in 1916. Assembly of trucks was launched in 1918. First model was named A-9. Japanese construction was made by “Ishikawajima” in 1928. All models were called “Sumida”.
In 1933 Ishikawajima Automotive Works merged with Dot Automobile Manufacturing Inc. and changed its name to Automobile Industries Co., Ltd. and produced truck for the Ministry of Trade and Industry named Isuzu, after the Isuzu River. Automobile Industries Co., Ltd., an Isuzu predecessor, established a diesel research committee in 1934, as part of the operational policies of then President Tomonosuke Kano. Just two years later in 1936, the company manufactured Japan's first air-cooled diesel engine, which marked a breakthrough in the history of diesel engine development. Automobile Industries was merged with two other companies into Tokyo Automobile Industries Co., Ltd. in 1937.
After the end of World War II, in October of 1945 production of gasoline truck TX40 and diesel truck TU60 was restarted. Truck TX61 was widely used in post war Japan during emerge from desolation. In 1949 Company got its current name - Isuzu Motors Limited.
In response to the fast growing demand after the World War II for restoring vehicle production, Isuzu Motors developed the DA80 diesel-Japan's first V8 engine - in 1950.
In addition, Isuzu developed a pre-combustion chamber, which had been improved through wartime to the postwar era as the industry's standard indirect-injection combustion chamber.
Isuzu also developed a direct-injection combustion chamber in which an advanced configuration was incorporated. The model attracted the industry's attention for its high performance. Signing in 1953 agreement on technical assistance of English company Rootes Isuzu produced light vehicle, copy of Hillman passenger car. 1959 – Elf truck with 2 tones capacity was successfully realized due to low-consumption diesel engine DA640 and good passability in combination with truckload and extra durability.
Isuzu developed Japan's first diesel engine for passenger cars in 1961. The DL201 model was presented with the 1961 Technological Award by the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers.
1962 – foundation of Fujisawa Plant, next year company presented passenger car Bellett. In 1966 - establishment of the division in Thailand, 1967 – production of passenger car Florian and first in Japan 4-cycle diesel engine with direct-injection for truck. 1968 – light vehicle 117 Coupe.
In 1971 Isuzu sold 34,2% of shares to American Corporation General Motors. 1974 - release of passenger car Gemini.
1975 – establishment of Isuzu Motors America. Isuzu promoted the use of fuel-efficient diesels in passenger cars through the release of the diesel-powered Florian and Gemini in 1977 and 1979.
1980 – release of minibuses Fargo. 1981 – Piazza model (3-doors).
1983 – launch of serial production of passenger car Aska (Florian). Aska won first place in English rally RAC that year.
Its first SUV Isuzu produced in 1985 - Rodeo Bighorn, was sold abroad as Trooper. This model competes with Mitsubishi Pajero that is why resemblance of constructive decisions is obvious.
1989 – introduction of SUV of new type - MU (Amigo). In USA in 1990 production on SIA Plant (Subaru-Isuzu Automotive Inc.) of Rodeo model was started. Models Amigo/ Rodeo/ MU/ Wizzard are sort-roaders. Even basic model is rear-driven. Variety of names reflects variety of markets covered by the models.
1997 – new model VehiCross, SUV on the base of Trooper with 3,2 l engine with 215 hp. In 2 years VehiCross covered US market. At Frankfurt Auto Show in 1999 concept on the base of VehiCross with open body was displayed, while in 2000 5-door variant in Detroit made its debut.
In 1998 being in crises, company completed production of passenger cars. It produced for Opel company cross-country vehicle Frontera. That time mass production of Elf CNG working on pressed natural gas starts.
At that period GM raised its stake in Isuzu to 49% and founded its subsidiary in Poland - Isuzu Motors Polska.
SUVs, minivans and delivery vans laid the groundwork for production of Isuzu vehicles with the weight less than 3,5 tones. These are pickups TFS (4х2) and TFR (4х4). They are known in Europe as Opel Campo and Vauxhall Bravo. Pickup Hombre is constructed for Latin American countries. Size and cabin equipment are identical to Chevrolet S-10.
At the mini-vans market Isuzu presented Fargo Filly model – analogue of lux class Nissan Elgrand model. Delivery vans and minibuses Fargo Van/ Fargo Bus and new Elf UT are produced only for internal Japanese market. Model Fargo Van fully resembles Nissan Urvan. Scale of commercial autos is completed with minibuses, vans, pickups and trucks of ERV series, cab-over-engine Elf NHR-/ NKR-series. Nissan Condor/Atlas is sold under the name of Elf 100 in USA and Japan.
In 2000 in USA production of diesel engines was started by DMAX Ltd and General Motors Isuzu Commercial Truck, LLC was founded this year. .
In May, 2001 Company announced new interim business-plan - V-Plan. Diesel engine Duramax 6600 entered Top 10 Diesels according Ward’s Communications.
At present time Isuzu successfully develops diesel engines with eco-friendly characteristics in accordance with market demand. Due to agreement between Isuzu and GM, Isuzu works on diesel engines, playing role of expert at the GM group.
Some times later Isuzu announced new line of full-sized pickups Isuzu D-Мax, developed during active participation of General Motors. This project is one of the most important steps during 30-years of cooperation between two auto manufacturers. Production of vehicles is planned to be organized on GM plant in Thailand. Isuzu is planning to move production of pickups and SUVs from Japan here.