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INFOGRAPHIC: History of Isuzu

Isuzu is a brand known for its diesel engines as well as tough pickups, versatile SUVs, and reliable trucks. The said products enabled this Japanese automaker to be one of the most popular car brands globally. It stood the test of time by believing in what it wants to achieve and by constantly finding ways to innovate its strengths, which are the aforementioned diesel engines, pickups, SUVs, and trucks.

The Japanese automaker launched its new RZ4E Blue Power diesel engine in 2015 in Thailand, which is said to deliver improved fuel economy and cleaner exhaust emission. The said engine was first introduced in the Philippines last March 2018, and it is now equipped in the 2018 D-Max, mu-X, and its truck fleet. With that, here is the story on how Isuzu began its journey into becoming a global brand.

Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Ltd. was the brand’s first official name, and it was established in 1893. It was in 1916 when the company decided to expand its operations into car manufacturing through the capital it has gained from the shipbuilding business.

Two years later, in 1918, the company teamed up with British automaker Wolseley Motor Ltd. and went into passenger vehicle production. In 1922, Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding & Engineering managed to localize the production of the Wolseley A9, which is regarded as the first passenger car ever made in Japan.

In 1924, the company completed the production of the Wolseley CP 1.5-ton payload truck, which is said to be the first of its kind that was made and built in Japan. The said truck also qualified as an official military truck by the Japanese government.

The experience and the technical know-how gained by Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding & Engineering made it decide to end its partnership with Wolseley in 1927. The Japanese company began manufacturing its own localized vehicles, such as the Sumida in 1929.

The late 1920s in Japan was considered to be a period when car ownership started to gain serious traction and market expansion. The growing demand for vehicles prompted the Japanese government to support its domestic automobile industry. In 1933, the company name Isuzu was launched, after the Isuzu River that flows past Japan’s oldest shrine, the Ise Grand Shrine of the Mie prefecture.

In that same year, Isuzu partnered with DAT Automobile Manufacturing Inc. to develop diesel engines. Three years later, in 1936, the company introduced two air-cooled diesel engine models, the DA6 and the DA4. The said diesel engines were to be the future blueprint or the foundation of all Isuzu diesel engines.

Isuzu Motors Ltd. established its foundation day on April 9, 1937, which was a year after it introduced its diesel engine models. The said company was established with a capital of JPY1 million. Isuzu never wanted to slow down as it started the production of the TX40 model at its Kawasaki plant in August 1938.

After World War II, Isuzu’s water-cooled diesel engines that were developed during the war years were integrated in the TX80 model and other trucks for civil use in the postwar reconstruction effort. With this, Isuzu was solidified as a top diesel engine manufacturer in Japan.

In 1949, the domestic demand for commercial vehicles expanded rapidly because of the emergency orders caused by the Korean War. This year, Isuzu’s capital increased to JPY150 million.

In 1953, the Isuzu Hillman, a passenger car, rolled off the production line. Yes, Isuzu did produce a passenger car. Six years later, in 1959, Isuzu launched the Elf, a two-ton payload, light-duty truck. Isuzu says the Elf holds the number one share in Japan’s light-duty truck market.

In October 1961, Isuzu launched another passenger car dubbed as Bellel. On the same year, the company inaugurated its Fujisawa plant.

Since then, Isuzu held onto its momentum as it launched another passenger car in June 1963, the Bellett. It was also during this year that Isuzu introduced the KR compact truck WASP. Then, in 1967, Isuzu debuted the TM 12-ton class truck, a large rear-engine type bus.

In July 1971, Isuzu signed a capital agreement with General Motors Corporation (GM). Three years after, in 1974, Isuzu unveiled the Gemini, the first vehicle produced in cooperation with GM.

In April 1987, the company celebrated its 50th anniversary, and in May 1989, Isuzu launched a new type of recreational vehicle, the Mu.

During the 1990s, Isuzu continued to expand its market reach and introduced several car models such as the full-model change of the Trooper.

In May 2002, the Isuzu pickup was completely changed in Thailand into the D-Max. This was made possible through the collaboration of Isuzu and GM. Then, in November 2006, Isuzu and Toyota agreed to jointly develop small diesel engines. In July 2016, Isuzu and Mazda entered to a pick-up truck collaboration agreement.

Overall, Isuzu’s current global status can be attributed to the success of its diesel engines. Through its diesel engines, Isuzu managed to take over Japan and eventually the global market. Up until now, the company is finding ways on how to further improve its diesel engine technology. One of the testament to this is the introduction of its RZ4E Blue Power diesel engine, which can now be found in the brand-new 2018 D-Max, mu-X, and its truck fleet. Visit CARMUDI PHILIPPINES, to know more about the the Isuzu brand or start shopping for brand-new car models.

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