Isuzu Celebrates a century
In 2016 Isuzu celebrates 100 years of operation – a century rich with accolades and world-first accomplishments.
Starting out as a merger between a shipbuilder and an energy provider in 1916, the first vehicle to roll off the production line was the A-9, in 1922. As the first passenger car ever built in Japan, it spearheaded one of the world’s biggest industrial success stories.
It wasn’t until 1949 that the “Isuzu Motors Limited” name was adopted by the company; a brand name that has since adorned many hugely successful passenger cars, rugged 4x4s, pick-ups and commercial vehicles.
Literally translated in English as “50 bells”, the “50” part of the name was represented by the Roman numeral, L, in the model names Bellel and Bellet – these being the very first Isuzu models released in Europe, during the 1950s.
Since then, Isuzu has found global acclaim with vehicles released in over 100 countries. The Isuzu 117 Coupe was a pioneering concept, recognised as the first-ever sports car with a diesel engine. The Isuzu Piazza followed soon after as a unique fastback with all-wheel drive, and also the last conventional passenger car before Isuzu focused its attention to specialist 4×4 production.
Alongside a commercial vehicle division, large MPVs, SUVs, 4x4s and pick-ups have become Isuzu’s speciality. The most notable models from the 1990s and 2000s include the Trooper, VehiCROSS, MU and Rodeo.