Wednesday, June 13, 2007

2008 Isuzu Forward - A Look at the GM T-Series To Come?

When Isuzu launched the new 'Hexacube' (designer speak for 'hella boxy') N-Series six to eight months back, they promised that the next Forward (F-Series/T-Series) would utilize a modified version of the square cabin.

Boy, they weren't kidding.

The new Forward launched on Isuzu's website last week, and it looks almost identical to the the N-/W-Series. Identical. If there's any change, it's slighty beefier, particuarly on the 11-ton FSR model. For whatever reason, the added size, weight and sight glass make the cab actually seem truck-worthy.

The interior's almost carry over from the N-/W-Series, meaning operators will now have a refined interior with plastic-trimmed surfaces, an ergonomic dash, and - a new first - a passenger-side airbag.
But forget about the rest of Isuzu's jubilant press release. Why? Because should this cab make it to North America as the next GM T-Series, the rest of the underpinnings won't. Which is a shame; instead of featuring a clutchless manual transmission and 4-bag air suspension, the cab will lie on top of a modified GM medium duty frame. I'll guarantee you that chassis will be the epitomy of the word 'conservative'.

Even that's a risky bet. The medium-duty cabover market (particuarly in the class 6-8 segment) is a quickly shrinking one, and with low production and sales of the T-Series, it wouldn't be surprising for GM to drop it altogether. There's also the possibility of Isuzu suddenly dropping its GM alliance for that of its new owner (re: Toyota), and the new questions stemming from Navistar's talks to purchase GM's medium duty operations.

In the meantime, we sit and wait to see what happens. If nothing else, maybe we'll see revisions to the Giga (other than this horrid rhinoplasty) that brings it in line with the rest of Isuzu's COEs.


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