Isuzu – A Historical Overview
The Isuzu name is recognised worldwide for its leadership and innovation, in the field of commercial vehicle manufacturing, and particularly in diesel engine technology. Throughout a history going back some 90 years Isuzu vehicles have been engineered with passion and dedication to push the limits of capability while redefining the perceptions of value.
Isuzu can trace its ancestry back to 1893 and the establishment of the Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, a heavy engineering company. In 1922, under a joint venture agreement with British auto manufacturer, Wolseley Motor Ltd., the company began production of the Wolseley A9 passenger car and produced its first pick-up three years later. Over the next nine decades Isuzu experienced a steady rise in prominence as a best-selling truck and light commercial vehicle manufacturer and a major innovative force in the global automotive industry.
The Isuzu name first appeared in 1934 on a mass produced vehicle range. The name is linked to the Isuzu river that runs close to Japan’s oldest religious shrine, the Isa Shrine, in Mie prefecture. The name Isuzu Motors was officially adopted by the company in 1949.
Over the many decades of its existence Isuzu has accrued a wealth of experience in automotive research and development. Today Isuzu enjoys a position as an established world-class manufacturer of light and heavy commercial vehicles and pick-ups. The company uses advanced technology to deliver real-world benefits to the international vehicle market. Every Isuzu is designed and built with a focus functionality and durability.
Isuzu vehicles maintain a prominent market share in numerous important global markets, including North America, China, the Middle East, and ASEAN nations. In these markets reliability, durability, and overall fuel and operating efficiency are the keys to Isuzu’s success in these highly competitive commercial vehicle markets. This success is reflected in the solid reputation of Isuzu vehicles in the ultra-competitive South African commercial vehicle market.
In 1971 Isuzu entered into a capital alliance with General Motors, at one time holding 49% of the shares in Isuzu, before the US company restructured its associations and scaled back its shareholding but retained a commercial relationship with Isuzu, mainly as a supplier of diesel engines.
In South Africa the Isuzu history goes back to March 1972 with the launch of the first Isuzu 1-tonner in this country, then badged as the Chevrolet LUV. Local production in Port Elizabeth began in October 1972 and in 1977 the first diesel powered models were added to the range.
In 1979 the range was expanded further to include the first 4X4 variants. Coinciding with this development was the adoption of the Isuzu KB branding.
The first full model change for the Isuzu KB in South Africa came in 1989 and brought with it a full package of styling and engineering changes. The next similar update came in 1997 and was followed by the 5th generation Isuzu KB in 2004. This model received a major facelift in October 2007 together with the introduction of Isuzu’s latest diesel engine technology in the form of the powerful Isuzu D-TEQ engines.
The progression to a continually more refined, powerful, and efficient range of Isuzu 1-Ton pick-ups continues with the release of the 6th generation Isuzu KB which builds on the established success of the brand based on its exceptional value and reputation for reliability and durability.
All About the New Isuzu KB South Africa