We got it wrong, along with at least one other internet site, which reported - as did we - that "We reported late yesterday that Isuzu will be leaving the United States market, but we got the date wrong - as did at least one other internet report, which similarly stated that, "Isuzu Motors America said on Wednesday that it will stop selling vehicles in the U.S. market. The decision is effective as of Thursday, Jan. 31, the company said in a press release."
My mistake. My bad.
It’s January 31st of 2009 - that is, a year from today.
The Detroit Free Press and Bloomberg, however, have provided further information about the Isuzu move. The Free Press reports that Isuzu’s sales in the United States have dropped 93% over the past eight years.
Currently, the products sold by the company in the States are all derivative of General Motors models, models which are nearing the end of their product cycle at GM. Isuzu once had access to GM’s corporate largess because it was 49% owned by GM. But, GM sold most of its holding in the company in 2002 and the last of its stake in Isuzu last year. So, it no longer has any ownership interest.
Toyota, however, owns 5.9% of Isuzu.
The departure of Isuzu from the U.S. market is the first departure by an Asian automaker since Daewoo went bankrupt.
At one time - 1999 - Isuzu sales in the United States market approached 110,000 vehicles, primarily the very successful Trooper mini-SUV. Last year, however, sales barely cracked 7,000.