Isuzu Will Finally Pull Out of North America Next Year
Isuzu plans to stop selling vehicles here in 2009
By Brendan Moore
Isuzu Motors Ltd. has released a statement saying it will discontinue distributing new passenger vehicles in North America, effective Jan. 31, 2009.
The action is the short-term consequence of General Motors Corp. ending production of the Ascender sport utility vehicle and the i-290 and i-370 pickup trucks, which Isuzu has been re-badging as Isuzu vehicles. GM has recorded no sales to Isuzu since July of 2007, while 2007 calendar year sales dropped 50% to a pitiful 7,098. Isuzu has sold only trucks in the U.S. since 1993, when it stopped selling its last North American car model, the Impulse.
But, the retreat from the North American market has been a long time coming, with sales ebbing away every year. Isuzu once sold as many as 100,000 vehicles a year in the market, but they slowly became a mere curiosity in the market, with nothing of their own to sell, and no real competitive advantage over any of the vehicles it competed against. It could have been revived at one point, and some thought that Toyota’s recent acquisition of the company from GM might signal such a revival, but apparently it is not to be.
“It has always been our intention to remain in the U.S. market,” said Terry Maloney, president of Isuzu’s North American operations. “However, we were unable to secure any commercially viable replacements for these vehicles.”
Isuzu will continue to honor all product warranties and roadside assistance programs. It also will maintain its owner-relations call center.
And what will happen to the small number of Isuzu dealers that stuck it out with Isuzu until the bitter end? Those U.S. Isuzu vehicle dealers have been offered the opportunity to continue on as service dealerships. They may realize more profit from that, frankly, after it’s all said and done.
Mr. Maloney stated, “Our parts and service operation will remain fully functional. We expect the vast majority of our dealers will continue as service-only dealers.”
Let us shed a single tear for Isuzu. At so many points in its history there are “if only” moments where the company could have taken another path, but they didn’t, and now they will gone from these shores soon. The car business is tough.
COPYRIGHT Autosavant.net – All Rights Reserved