TOKYO. While there’s been no formal proposal from either party, buying General Motor’s medium-duty truck business fits Isuzu Motors’ “aggressive alliance strategy” to boost volumes, according to Isuzu president Susumu Hosoi. If another company were to acquire the GM assets, Isuzu “may have to turn to other opportunities” to find those volume increases, he said here during a press conference with North American truck journalists.
The cost of meeting ever stricter diesel emissions standards around the world cannot be passed on to customers under current economic conditions, so Isuzu must pursue “alliance strategies to boost volumes and combat cost issues,” Hosoi said, speaking through an interpreter. “No one company alone can absorb those costs, and that presents a question mark about business viability among all medium and light-duty truck players,” he said.
While Isuzu dissolved its long-standing truck marketing agreement with GM a year ago, the two have a 35-year history of cooperation in North America, Hosoi said. “If working further with GM can give us that incremental volume, then we will consider a new form of alliance with them.”
Avoiding the term “acquisition” because of the term’s negative domestic Japanese implications, Hosoi positioned Isuzu as “interested” if “GM proposes selling off its commercial vehicle assets.”
Turning to other issues, Hosoi said the Japanese truck and diesel manufacturer is looking at North America for “smaller diesel vehicle” opportunities. Ruling out an Isuzu pickup for the American market, he indicated that the company was currently holding internal discussions about heavy commercial vans. In such a price-sensitive area of the market, “The unavoidable cost pressures of diesel emission must be addressed first, so again the search for volume and partners are key,” he said.