Isuzu, Mitsubishi Integrate to Increase Sales in Europe

By: Correy Putton


Isuzu Motors and Mitsubishi Corporation earlier announced the establishment of a joint venture called the Isuzu Automotive Europe GmbH (IAE). According to the automakers, the newly-founded system is aimed at expanding sales in Europe. This could be done by increasing the operational efficiency and strengthening the sales framework in the given territory.

IAE's initial capitalization is 2.4 million euro or about 370 million yen. Isuzu and Mitsubishi will be both contributing 50 percent of the mentioned amount. The automakers have jointly deployed distributors in Benelux, Spain/Portugal, and Germany/Austria to set up sales channels. However, sales management and marketing for these markets will be carried out independently by different Isuzu companies and branches. Isuzu will be the supplier of light-duty trucks while Isuzu Operations Thailand Co., Ltd. will deliver pickup trucks.

The integration of the sales channels for light-duty trucks and pickup trucks will etch a remarkable milestone for the automakers. In view of the joint venture, Isuzu Operations Thailand and Isuzu will start to outsource IAE distributors' management, market information collection, and new markets development. With the said venture existing, Isuzu and Mitsubishi expect to double the sales of light-duty trucks and pickup trucks in the European market from 16,000 units to 32,000 units in a span of three years.

Isuzu previously denied the rumor that it is asking General Motors to pull out of two joint ventures that produce diesel engines and replace the U.S. auto maker with a new partner, Toyota. "There is no discussion about this," Isuzu spokesman Kouitsu Mabuchi said.

It can also be recalled that Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily earlier reported Isuzu would ask former top shareholder GM to sell the 60 percent stakes it holds in DMAX Ltd. and Isuzu Motors Polska Sp. in Poland. The paper also reported Isuzu President Yoshinori Ida would propose the plan to GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner. Eventually, the planned partnership of the automakers came into reality and the result was a powerful 6.6-liter V8 diesel engine. The latter was produced at DMAX and is mounted on the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-sized pickup trucks. On the other hand, the 1.7-liter engines in Poland were used to fuel several cars under the Opel brand.

The paper also added that Isuzu and Toyota would continue to supply GM. However, Toyota is planning to use the plants in the future to serve European and American auto demands as the market for diesel-powered vehicles expand.

Aside from joint ventures, Isuzu is also concentrating on producing state-of-the-art vehicles. It boasts of the i-Series pickup truck line that made its debut at the New York International Auto Show in 2005. The i-Series replaced Hombre, which has been out of production since 2000. i-Series, which shares same platform with GMs midsize pickups, is built at Shreveport plant in Louisiana. Said plant produces Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

The automaker, which is famed for its quality , is absorbed at boosting its i-Series sales. Since its introduction, up until February last year, Isuzu just sold 1,377 units of the i-Series. This information was divulged by Automotive News.

This year, Isuzu set forth 2 additional vehicles for the i-Series - the i-290 - 2.9 L Atlas LLV I4 and the i-370 - 3.7 L Atlas LLR I5. With the active ventures of the automaker, it is expected that the sales of i-Series and other Isuzu vehicles will be brought to the next level.

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