|The Isuzu Rodeo|
You may not have known that Isuzu vehicles were once made in the US, but they were. It was an unusual situation that ended up not being sustainable. The article here only covers light commercials, not some heavier ones that were also made Stateside. It also only covers what was made in the US, not imported vehicles.
The seeds were sown when GM took a third shareholding in Isuzu in the early 1970's. Initially vehicles were sent from Japan and sold under GM nameplates, but in 1981 Isuzu introduced its own brand to the US. Then it got in to local manufacturing. It was too small in sales to go it alone so needed a collaboration. Here's a summary of what happened.
Pickups: Isuzu joined with Subaru in the Lafayette, Indiana plant (SIA) in 1989 producing the P'up small pickup. The P'up ended its run at the plant in 1994, but US pickup production continued in 1996 as the Hombre, a Chevrolet light truck (S-10) made by GM for Isuzu. That ran until the year 2000. By 2005, Isuzu turned to GM again for a pickup, this time for the i-series mid sized truck (Chevy Colorado). That lasted until 2008.
SUVs: In 1990, the Rodeo SUV was also assembled at the SIA plant. In 2001, the Axiom mid sized SUV was also made at the facility with both of them ending their run in 2004. In 2002 the GM provided the Ascender mid sized SUV (Chevy TrailBlazer) which continued to 2008.
The gradual ending: Isuzu's joint sharing of the SIA plant lasted until 2002, when Isuzu sold its share of the facility to Subaru. That same year, Isuzu left Canada where its vehicles were mainly sold through Saturn-Saab dealerships. When the Rodeo and Axiom models ended in 2004, sales for Isuzu in the US declined quickly. By 2008, it was all over when Isuzu decided to leave the US altogether.
Summary: Isuzu never had a strong passenger car lineup and relying on a limited SUV and pick-up range was never going to be enough. Being a fringe player can work in other markets but not in the US.
PS. Putting this article together wasn't easy and I looked to many sources for information, not all of which were in agreement. If anyone can add anything to or refine what I have presented, please let me know.
|Year||Light Trucks||Annual||US Est|