ISUZU DECISION TO QUIT US MARKET

Isuzu to quit US car market

2 February, 2008

BY OUR AUTOMOBILE CORRESPONDENT

Japanese auto maker Isuzu has decided to stop selling passenger vehicles in the United States.

The Isuzu decision to exit the US market comes after a substantial decline in sales in recent years. Isuzu will quit the US market on January 31, 2009.

Isuzu's decision to quit will bring to an end a 27-year run in the US. Isuzu is the first car manufacturer from Asia to quit the world's largest market since South Korea's Daewoo stopped selling cars in the US in 2002 following financial troubles.

Isuzu's sales in the American region had touched bottom levels with the company selling only 7,098 vehicles out of the total 16.1 million new vehicles sold in the US in 2007.

During the 1980s and 90s, the company had enjoyed success as a maker of sport utility vehicles, such as the Trooper and the Rodeo.

The decision is being seen as unnecessary by many, who feel that Isuzu was almost ahead of its time. The company's US headquarters as well as its network of 199 American dealers are now a worried lot fearing bad times ahead. A report said the decision to quit sales was based in part on the fact that the two models Isuzu currently sells in the US, the Ascender SUV and the i-series pickup (both manufactured by General Motors for Isuzu), will no longer be made, and the company has no plans to design a new vehicle.

It is rumored that Isuzu will instead focus on its commercial trucks. After building pickups for GM in the 1970s, Isuzu began selling its own vehicles in the U.S. in 1981, with low-cost vehicles such as the Pup pickup and the Trooper.

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