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Re: Isuzu Corporate News Thread (Company News)
12/20/05 07:45 AM
GM pulls the plug on Isuzu model
Line keeps shrinking; just 3 models are left
Automotive News / December 19, 2005
The Ascender accounts for nearly one-quarter of Isuzu sales in the U.S.
LOS ANGELES -- General Motors has put a lump of coal in Isuzu's Christmas stocking.
GM will end production of the seven-seat Isuzu Ascender in February when it closes its assembly plant in Oklahoma City. The model accounted for 22.5 percent of Isuzu's U.S. sales of 11,388 this year through November.
The loss is more dreary news for dealers, who will limp along with only three poor-selling vehicles: the five-seat Ascender and the i280 and i350 pickups. The pickups are based on the GMC Canyon.
"It's unfortunate from our standpoint, because the Ascender seven-passenger has been a successful and profitable part of our lineup since its introduction in 2003," Terry Maloney, president of Isuzu Motors America, said in a letter to dealers.
He added, though, that Isuzu's U.S. unit will post a profit for fiscal 2005 for the first time since 2000. The U.S. unit has cut costs drastically.
"Be assured that I am confident about our future, and I strongly encourage you to share that confidence," Maloney said.
Scott Lasher, owner of Lasher Isuzu in Sacramento, Calif., and chairman of the Isuzu dealer council, said the big Ascender represented only about 10 percent of his sales.
"Still, it's hard to lose product when you have a narrow product offering in the first place," he says. But, he adds, "The pickups are starting to catch on."
Earlier this year Isuzu Motors Ltd. projected it would generate $46.6 million in North American operating profits this year, compared with a $3.7 million loss last year. But it expected commercial trucks, not light vehicles, to account for most of the turnaround.
Some numbing numbers tell Isuzu's sorry story
Life for Isuzu dealers is bleak. A few statistics tell the story:
# Vehicles no longer in production, such as the Rodeo and Axiom SUVs, accounted for 32 percent of Isuzu sales this year through November. Isuzu sales are off 55.6 percent this year.
# The seven-seat Ascender, which will be dropped in February, accounted for 36 percent of total Ascender sales of 7,082 through November, Isuzu spokesman Chip Letzgus said.
# Dealers have sold only 604 i-280 and i-350 pickups since they went on sale in July, far below the projected 2,500 sales for this year. The company hopes to sell at least 5,000 of the pickups for a full calendar year.
# Isuzu's U.S. sales were 27,188 in 2004, down 10.4 percent from 2003. As recently as 1999, Isuzu was selling more than 100,000 vehicles in this country.
• 04 Rodeo DI • 56k mi, body damage on the 1st weekend I got it.