Isuzu was founded in the 1920s as a shipbuilding company. Forced to give up
ships after World War II, the company shifted their focus to commercial
vehicles, as their was an open market in Southeast Asia for cheap, reliable
trucks which could haul heavy loads across often potholed and poorly
maintained roads. Most known for their truck models, the company
nonetheless also produces some cars and SUVs, as well as buses and heavy
Remarkable Facts about Isuzu
competed in rally races in the 1960s.
not available in America.
badge-engineered Isuzu D-Max.
Isuzu Famous Car Models
Internationally, the company is most known for Isuzu trucks. While unable
to unseat the Toyota Hilux as the most ubiquitous third-world vehicle,
their trucks nonetheless make up the majority of commercial vehicles in
Southeast Asia, India and Africa. Ranging from light duty to super heavy
duty, these Isuzu trucks are designed with an eye towards conditions where
maintenance is sparse and impractical and conditions are never good. Isuzu
thus prides itself on the quality and workmanship of their trucks, as well
as the fact they are affordable even to third world vendors.
The company has also produced a number of Isuzu cars. Sold in America under
the Geo and Chevrolet marques, Isuzu cars are almost exclusively small
hatchbacks. The primary focus of their cars was to undercut competition
from Toyota and Honda by offering the most sparing of spartan vehicles,
sacrificing comfort and performance for reliability and low price. Although
unsuccessful in the American market, Isuzu cars are very popular in third
world countries. Most of these cars are sold in Vietnam and India, although
they are making inroads into sub-Saharan Africa as well as Egypt and the
One point where Isuzu has succeeded stateside is in the realm of the SUVs.
Isuzu SUVs, most notably Isuzu Rodeo, have been prized as “true SUVs” due
to their ruggedness and true off road capability. Although built on a truck
frame like traditional SUVs, these SUVs are designed to be light and tough,
with a high ground clearance and an engine capable of hauling heavy loads.
The Rodeo is particularly well suited for this, because it has a
turbocharged diesel engine. The Isuzu rodeo is also much less expensive
than similarly sized SUVs, making it ideal for off road “bashing,” where
lesser vehicles would be too expensive to risk or too weak to survive.