GM, Isuzu Part Ways On Midsize Pickup Development
General Motors and Isuzu Motor Company have parted ways on developing midsize pickups. The two automakers came to the mutual agreement as GM focuses on higher-spec models, while Isuzu continues to cater to commercial markets. This ends a deal penned in 2014 for building midsized pickups as part of a joint product development arrangement struck in 2006.
An Isuzu spokesman told Reuters, “The direction each company wanted to take for the vehicles was changing.” A GM statement regarding the split echoed Isuzu’s, saying, "Both GM and Isuzu agree that due to unique requirements for each company, joint development of the next-generation midsize pick-up truck for (GM) markets is no longer the optimal model for this project."
Currently the automakers produce several models together. The Chevrolet Colorado (the global truck, not the U.S.-spec truck GM built on its own) and Isuzu D-Max are nearly clones of each other, with Chevy selling in Australia and the Middle East, while Isuzu is sold in Asia and other countries. Chevy also builds an SUV based off the Colorado and the Trailblazer, which also sold in Asia and Australia.
What’s more, the break-up allows for Isuzu’s partnership with Mazda – a joint venture announced in July 2016. Details are still scarce, but it’s likely the Mazda BT-50 and Isuzu D-Max will be replaced with a single pickup, badge-engineered for each automaker. We don’t expect either truck to be offered inside the U.S.
Nevertheless, GM and Isuzu will continue their partnership of building medium-duty commercial trucks. This partnership is only a year old, having been struck in June of 2015, but is reminiscent of the pair’s past partnership in the medium-duty segment, which ended in 2009.
The deal allows Chevrolet to badge-engineer Isuzu’s N-Series Low Cab Forward trucks as its own, while Isuzu benefits from having access to GM’s 6.0-liter gasoline V-8 for both Isuzu and Chevy versions of the N-Series. Overseas versions of the N-Series will come with a variety of Isuzu-built diesel engines.
GM’s next global midsize pickup will be developed in-house, allowing the automaker full control of its product. Expect to see a more luxurious and comfortable Colorado pickup debut in the next few years.
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If General Motors is to bounce back from its beleaguered state, it’s got to deliver on its promises. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz made one when he said that the Pontiac G8, scheduled for the chopping block at the end of the year, will eventually resurface in Chevrolet showrooms as the Caprice.
"The last time we looked at [the G8], we decided that we would continue to import it as a Chevrolet," Lutz said. "It is kind of too good to waste." Despite the Vice Chairman’s promise, there still seems to be mixed feeling within the organization regarding the future of the G8. One of the people against the move happens to be CEO Fritz Henderson, who has been repeatedly heard saying that he isn’t a fan of rebadging.
Nevertheless, Lutz is bent on keeping his promise, saying that the wheels have already been set in motion and that export agreements with a number of countries, specifically Australia, where the Holden Commodore has already been rebadged as Chevrolets in a slew of countries. This precedent, according to Lutz, is something that he is looking at using in order to repackage the G8 as a Chevrolet-badged vehicle under the Caprice name.
Continued after the jump.
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