Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Divorce Is (almost) Final: Isuzu Leaves GM Commercial Truck Partnership

If you've carefully read the news or regularly Googled "Isuzu" (I'll admit it; I haven't), you may have caught wind of the fact that, as of Wednesday, the GM-Isuzu Commercial Truck partnership is no more.

This isn't at all surprising. Since the sale of GM's stake of Isuzu to Toyota, steps have been made that hinted such a divorce was waiting in the wings. First, there's the new factory Isuzu's building in the South, followed closely with rumblings that the next Duramax V8 won't be Isuzu-engineered (that much's true). News followed soon after that Isuzu would be working briskly on putting diesel engines into Toyota's European lineup - something GM did quite frequently in order to offer oil-burning Opels on the continent.

But, the announcement that Isuzu's CV sales (isn't that all they have left?) in the U.S. will now be handled by their own organization out of California.

Well, not exactly. According to the Janesville Gazette, assembly of gas-powered W-series trucks isn't affected. A factory spokesperson claims the dissolved partnership involves only the sale, not the manufacture, of commercial vehicles.

So what's with the new plant then? No word as of yet, but we can look at it as one of two likely scenarios:

1. Isuzu intends on dissolving the manufacturing liason with GM, and moving all W-series and F(T)-Series assembly to the new factory


2. This is something totally unrelated to GM but relevant to Toyota. We've heard rumblings of diesel-powered Toyota Tundras in the pipeline; what if instead of having Hino or Caterpillar (on odd rumor, for sure) building the motors Isuzu's placed in charge?

We're waiting on follow-ups with GM and Isuzu representatives to see what impact this will have on the sale of W- and T-series trucks through GM dealers, but one early report claims Isuzu will still offer the "class 3-5" trucks (re: W-Series) through a limited number of Chevrolet and GMC outlets.


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