Isuzu Mulls Truck Plant In U.S.

Posted on December 13, 2006

Isuzu Motors Ltd. President Yoshinori Ida said that the Japanese truckmaker was considering building a truck factory in North America as it focuses on growth overseas to make up for an expected stagnation in domestic demand. A local factory would be appropriate when U.S. truck sales reached 50,000 units a year, Ida said at the unveiling of a new light-duty Elf truck outside Tokyo. Isuzu expects to sell 32,000 trucks in the United States this year.

Ida did not disclose the likely scale of a future factory, but another company executive said it would probably build 2 to 3 ton trucks, adding to Isuzu's sole offering of 3.5-ton N-series trucks in the United States. The executive said Isuzu was in the final stages of purchasing land for a factory. He said the truck maker also wanted to add a 4-ton truck to its line-up around 2009.

Isuzu currently exports most of the N-series trucks it sells in the United States from Japan. It subcontracts production of the gasoline version of the model to former top shareholder General Motors Corp. Last year, Isuzu sold around 25,000 trucks in the United States, of which 4700 units were built at GM's Janesville, Wis., plant, an Isuzu spokesman said. Isuzu separately owns a joint venture factory with GM in Ohio to build about 200,000 diesel engines a year.