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Japan, 1916-



Early history

The Isuzu company can trace its roots back to 1878 with Tokyo Gas and Electric Industrial Co. However it is only in 1916 when Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., Ltd. formed a partnership to build automobiles in Japan. A technical cooperation came in 1918 with Wolseley Motors Limited and from 1922 the formed company started producing the Wolseley A9. 550 were built by 1927. In 1933, Ishikawajima Automotive Works merged with DAT Automobile Manufacturing Inc. (a predecessor of Nissan) and changed its name to Automobile Industries Co., Ltd. First maketed as "Chiyoda" and "Sumiya", the cars produced then were given the name Isuzu in 1934. In 1937 Automobile Industries was reorganized and formed into a new company, Tokyo Automobile Industries Co., Ltd. but we'll have to wait until 1949 for the company to officially use the Isuzu name. Hino Heavy industries split off from the corporation in 1942. But in 1945, production of trucks resumed with the permission of the occupation authorities.


In 1953, an agreement with the Rootes group of UK made the local production of the Hillman Minx possible, which extended to 1962. Isuzu's first wholly in-house engineered car appeared in 1961 as the Bellell, which was a bit larger than the Hillman Minx.

A smaller model, the Bellet, was released in 1963.

However, looking to fulfull demand for smaller and affordable cars in Japan, and under the pressure from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) to reduce the number of automobiles manufacturers in Japan, Isuzu started talks with other Japanese auto manufacturers to establish a merger or a joint-venture. After Subaru, Mitsubishi and Nissan, Isuzu turned to General Motors of USA for a durable capital agreement in 1971…

Classic Isuzu cars still hold a solid enthusiast base today, especially with the most popular models which have been the Belett, the 117, the Gemini and the Piazza in Japan, as well as the I-Mark, Impulse and Stylus in North America, including the derivative models distributed by GM until 1993 : the Geo Storm and the Asüna Sunfire.

Here's a selection of Isuzu brand logos over the years :

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To see the complete list of "Alpha 3" country codes used in these pages to specify the market in which the model was sold, please visit the following website :
(We added (EUR) for Europe, (NAM) for North America, (SAM) for South America and (GCC) for Gulf Cooperation Council)

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  • Hillman Minx *See : Minx (many years)

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  • Tiejingang (CHN) *See : Vehicross (1997-2001)

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Concept cars

Race cars

Trucks & Buses



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