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Isuzu celebrates 80-year anniversary with SA customers

2017-04-25 09:29

ISUZU IN SA: The first Isuzu KB double-cabs were introduced locally in 1993. Image: Quickpic

Port Elizabeth - It’s a year of celebration for Isuzu as it commemorates the establishment of the company in April 1937. Locally, Isuzu celebrated with customers at Isuzu dealers across the country in April. 

The 'Isuzu National Dealer Day' saw customers and fans of the brand descend on participating Isuzu dealerships all over South Africa. In addition to celebrating this key milestone, Isuzu also revealed the recently introduced X-Rider model to customers.

READ: Isuzu's new X-Rider bakkie is here to stay!  

Isuzu says: “Isuzu has a strong heritage and a firmly established reputation as a manufacturer of rugged and reliable commercial vehicles. 

“This year while we are celebrating the brand’s long history we are also focused on the future as we reveal the new X-Rider. 

“Isuzu continues to charge ahead in pursuit of reliability, durability, and eco-friendliness. Engineered in South Africa, the Isuzu KB continues to set new standards of durability, balanced design and meticulous attention to detail.” 

A brief history

The company’s roots can be traced back more than a century, to 1916 when the Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Limited was formed. It started out building trucks under licence from British company, Wolseley.  

There were various acquisitions and mergers in the 1930’s and 1940’s, resulting in the eventual formation of Isuzu Motors Limited – Isuzu also being the name of a Japanese river. Translated into English it means ‘Fifty Bells”.

Isuzu established a diesel research committee in 1934 and focused on the development of diesel engines, a technology that had not yet been commercially established even in the advanced nations of Europe and North America. 

READ: Spruced-up Isuzu bakkie: SA-built KB gets a facelift  

The first Isuzu KB double-cabs were introduced locally in 1993. Image: Quickpic.

In 1936 the company introduced the air-cooled 5,3-litre DA6 diesel engine, followed three years later by the DA4, which went on to serve as the foundation of all later generations of Isuzu diesel engines. These were Japan’s first commercial diesel engines and marked a breakthrough in the history of diesel engine development. 

Isuzu in South Africa

The South African Isuzu story started in the early 1970's with the launch of the Chevrolet LUV (Light Utility Vehicle), in essence the first Isuzu ‘bakkie’ which was imported from Japan. Local production of the LUV commenced in 1972 at the Kempston Road plant in Port Elizabeth and in 1973 Isuzu-based trucks were introduced for the first time.

The KB, which is unique to South Africa was first introduced when the facelifted LUV was released in 1979, but this time branded as an Isuzu KB. The following year saw the South African introduction of the Isuzu KB40, the first petrol and diesel powered four-wheel drive pick-up from Japan.

By the start of the 1980's, Isuzu led the global industry in the field of direct-injection diesel engines for light trucks, and in 1981 introduced a design that featured both high output and low fuel consumption and led the way with technology that made diesels more user-friendly.

Isuzu has produced almost 25-million diesel engines and its pick-ups are available in over 100 countries.

Read more on:    isuzu  |  south africa  |  bakkies

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