In Europe and certainly in the Netherlands, Isuzu plays a modest role in the sales numbers, but certainly in Asia it is a major player in the commercial vehicle market. The brand is active almost worldwide. Nowadays, the specialization mainly lies in the supply of diesel pick-up models and Isuzu is also a (diesel) engine supplier for various brands.
A first step towards vehicle production was taken in 1916 with a collaboration between Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., Ltd. and Tokyo Gas and Electric Industrial Co .. The company will be renamed Ishikawajima Automotive Works. In 1918 a collaboration was started with the British Wolseley and in 1922 the first model of the band was launched: a Wolseley A9 built under license. The first company car follows in 1924: the CP. Ishikawajima Automotive Works merges with DAT Automobile Manufactoring (a predecessor of Nissan) in 1933 and the cars are marketed under the Isuzu name from 1934. From 1949, the company itself also bears that name.
The commercial vehicle branch is split off in 1942 and continues independently under the name Hino. It is still a well-known truck manufacturer in Asia. In 1945 Isuzu comes back with its own truck car models. Passenger car production started again in 1953 when the Hillman Minx was built under license. That car was succeeded in 1961 by Isuzu’s first truly private passenger car: the Bellel. However, the cars are a bit too big and too expensive to score on the Japanese car market, so collaborations are sought. Only in 1971 a successful one is found, with the American General Motors. Under this partnership, Isuzu sells its first cars in the US from 1972. The Faster compact pick-up is sold there as Chevrolet LUV.
Over the years, the model portfolio has expanded considerably and there is also plenty of cooperation with other manufacturers. The passenger cars are more in the background, this branch will definitely end in 2008 when the Ascender SUV goes out of production. Non-SUV passenger cars had already been discontinued a few years earlier. Today, Isuzu only produces commercial vehicles.
Isuzu has also been active in the Netherlands for quite some time. It achieved modest sales with small trucks and supplied the Trooper, among other things, to the passenger car market. Models also found Dutch showrooms via a detour. For example, the Opel Frontera and Monterey were actually Isuzus. At the moment Isuzu only supplies the D-Max pick-up in our country.