The history of Isuzu can be traced back all the way to 1916 with the Ishikawajima Shipbuilding co. and Tokyo Gas, both planning to build automobiles after watching the success of the machine – they planned a joint venture in order to do this. In 1918 they entered a joint cooperative venture with the Wolseley Motor Co, and then the first vehicle under the name of Wolseley is produced, a fine car by the name of the A-9, and soon after came the trucks.

Isuzu logo

Later on in 33 Ishikawajima merged with DAT, and changed the name to Automobile Industries Company, and a year later they renamed the truck they were manufacturing as the Isuzu (which is also a river in Japan). After World War Two and much rebuilding of their destroyed manufacturing plants they needed a new name and so, in 1949, they adopted the name from their truck, and began branding all vehicles they manufactured as Isuzu. Again they partnered with another automobile manufacturer in a lucrative deal for technical prowess, and thus their first passenger car vehicles to be noticed after the war are produced, the Hillman Minx being the notable one.

Isuzu entered a deal in 1973 with Chevrolet to manufacture a vehicle that would be re-branded by them, it was called the Chevrolet LUV. However, a few years later Chevrolet would switch to its own design – the S-10. Following that they introduced the Gemini with GM, and it was sold very well. Throughout the 80’s Isuzu branded vehicles were sold without being re-branded, allowing for the name to gain recognition on its own, and by the 90’s had found some very good market share in the U.S. Economy – however sales of its domestic cars failed and their lead spokesman left. By 99 their sales had slipped, and after GM sold a huge portion of their stick in Isuzu things began to spiral out of control.

Isuzu Rodeo LE Sport

Recently they have undertaken cuts, and restructuring to make a profit, and two years ago were in the black rather than the red. However, last year they took another hit, with more plants closing, they were left with just the craptastic i-Series and the Ascender. Now they’re entering deals with Toyota about better R&D – and probably a possibility of a merger.

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