For more than three decades, General Motors and Isuzu have had a close relationship, with the two companies cooperating on projects including the Chevrolet LUV compact pickup, several Geo models, and some co-branded cabover medium-duty trucks. Of greatest significance to the truck community, Isuzu played an instrumental role in developing the original Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 that is widely credited with kicking the diesel pickup torque and performance race into high gear in 2001. The two parted ways in 2006 as part of a restructuring, but it looks like the former partners may reunite once again, according to a report from Reuters.
Isuzu exited the U.S. passenger car and light-truck market in 2008, but it remains a significant player in the commercial vehicle market, both in the United States and around the world. This most recent report suggests the two companies are looking at a plant to jointly produce commercial vehicles in the Asian, Central American, and South American markets.
The deal reportedly involves GM taking a 10-percent stake in Isuzu, which would make it the largest percentage outside shareholder in the company. Toyota currently holds a 5.9-percent stake in the company, which it would probably sell if the GM deal were to be formalized. Currently, Mitsubishi Corp. is the largest outside shareholder with a 9.2 percent stake in Isuzu. German auto giant Volkswagen and Isuzu also currently have a pickup truck joint venture in Thailand, with Isuzu supplying VW with trucks in the Southeast Asian market.
The two companies will reportedly begin negotiations in early May, and are planning on arranging a meeting between Isuzu CEO Susumu Hosoi and GM CEO Dan Akerson.
Source: Nikkei via Reuters