Isuzu is not a character in a bio-mechanical assassin movie but a Japanese medium truck manufacturer that has been around for some 90 years. Isuzu's inception is very similar to that of other Japanese car and truck makers, such as Hyundai and Kia, who have entered the automotive industry as result of company growth and favorable conditions for expansion. Before Isuzu there was the Tokio Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering Company who planned taking its business further as early as 1910.
Following a partnership with the Tokio Gas and Electric Industrial Company, Ishikawajima released their first truck in 1918. Shortly after the company made its first steps in the truck making business it obtained a license to manufacture British-based Wolseley automobiles, setting the foundation of what would become a long row of collaborations with foreign companies.
The company built its first automobile in 1922. Despite the fairly early development of the vehicle, it was yet far from being flawless. After a 13 year leap through technology and constant product improvements, the company tackles the task of making a bus. Their 1935 prototype was the first of its kind in Japan, equipped with air brakes and an underfloor mounted engine.
Two years and several mergers and spilt-ups later, the Tokyo Jidosha Kogyo Company was founded, marking the starting point for Isuzu's future activity with an emphasis on Diesel engines development. By the end of the 40's, the company had well expanded into the medium and heavy truck market; it adopted the name of a river, Isuzu, meaning “fifty bells pealing in harmony and celebrations”.
As far as “harmony and celebration” are concerned, Isuzu equipment has been operating in extreme cold at Japan's Antarctic Observation Base since 1955. Four years later, the company delivered the world's first two-ton light-duty forward - control truck, anticipating the ulterior appearance of the N series. Growth attracted investors, among them General Motors, with whom it jointly manufactured models like the Buick Opel and Chevrolet Luv, the first Isuzu-vehicles to reach North – American markets.
A further increase in interest for Isuzu compelled GM into strengthening the partnership with the Japanese car – maker and unlock the passage to US grounds. The American Isuzu Motors Inc. was founded in 1983, aiding the company in its badly desired world conquest. Throughout the 80's, Isuzu garnered much acclaim in its homeland, having been awarded more than 20 Good Design trophies by the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry. Truck production also reached the threshold of 3 million units, surpassing makers like Daimler-Benz and earning Isuzu the world's largest truck producer rank.
The 90's brought forth new achievements with the launch of the Trooper and Rodeo, the latter having won three times in a row the Alcan Winter Rally. Introduction of newer vehicles such as the Axiom and better technology like the jointly-developed Duramax injection support Isuzu in holding its privileged position on the US market. Currently part of the GM group, Isuzu is still among the largest suppliers of medium duty commercial trucks and pick – ups. Apart from its vast US dealership and market share, Isuzu is widely known for its light price tags, affordability being among its vehicles main attributes.