GM, Isuzu end pickup truck tie-up in Asia

BEIJING/TOKYO — General Motors and Isuzu Motor Co. have agreed to stop working together on developing midsize pickup trucks made in Asia, as the U.S. automaker focuses on the higher end of the market while the Japanese firm sticks to selling vehicles for everyday commercial purposes.

The automakers said on Friday they had cancelled their pickup truck deal struck in 2014, the latest under a joint product development arrangement that began in 2006.

They added that separate collaboration agreements, including one for commercial vehicles in the U.S., remained intact.

Under the agreement, Isuzu, which specializes in light trucks and commercial vehicles, had developed its D-Max pick-up truck, marketing the model in Asia and beyond, focusing on markets including Australia and the Middle East.

GM produced a version of its Colorado pick-up trucks and Trailblazer SUVs for Asian and Australasian markets. The Asia-produced Colorado pickup is different from a model sold under the same name in the U.S., which GM has developed on its own.

One GM executive said the “unique requirements” for GM are about the strategic shift it began making last year in Southeast Asia where it is now trying to focus more on competing in the higher end of the region’s truck and SUV markets.

GM’s revamped strategy is especially pronounced in Thailand, where the automaker is now launching sleeker pick-up trucks.

Isuzu and compatriot Mazda Motor Corp. earlier this month announced that Isuzu would produce next-generation pickup trucks for Mazda outside North America.

Last year, GM said it would return to the medium-duty commercial truck business in the U.S. after a seven-year hiatus. GM plans to sell trucks from Isuzu Motors as rebadged Chevrolets, the companies announced. They include six so-called low-cab forward models.

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