Consumers Responding Well to Isuzu’s Going Out of Business Sale
By Chris Haak
It’s extremely unlikely that Isuzu’s management is reconsidering its decision to withdraw from the US market in early 2009, but a funny thing happened on the way to shutting down sales operations. Sales actually increased 11.4% in the first quarter of 2008 when compared to the same period in 2007. It’s also the first time that Isuzu sales have seen a quarterly increase since the second quarter of 2000 – 7.75 years ago.
More likely than not, generous dealer incentives of between $4,000 and $8,000 per vehicle helped. On top of that, dealers received up to $1,500 per vehicle sold through March 31 if they spent at least half of that money on Isuzu-exclusive advertising.
Many dealers interviewed by Automotive News spoke very favorably of the fair treatment they have received from Isuzu during the winding down of its US business, and many are sad to see the company depart these shores. The company basically folded up its operations when it could not secure any future products, although we speculated on several other possible scenarios Isuzu could have tried if they really wanted to stay in the US as a purveyor of light vehicles.
The company will continue to sell heavier duty trucks in the US, though not at the same dealers that are currently selling rebadged GM compact pickups and midsize SUVs. However, of those light duty Isuzu dealers, the company has signed 140 so far as service-only dealers, with the goal of getting 200 to agree to stay connected through those means. That seems unlikely, since there are only 201 dealers at the moment, and some will probably decide that they don’t want to remain as service-only dealers, focusing instead on their used car businesses or other new car franchises.
If you don’t mind driving a lame-duck vehicle and want a solid warranty at a huge discount, visit your local Isuzu dealer before their inventory is completely sold out. As of March 1, dealers had 3,125 vehicles in stock (about 16 per dealer), with about 80% being 2008 models and 20% leftover 2007 models. No offense to those who do choose to buy a cheap new Isuzu, but I’d personally rather have a new Kia than a new Isuzu.
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