Isuzu Motors Ltd. announced Thursday it has agreed to start talks with General Motors Co. to jointly develop pickup trucks, hoping to cut costs by teaming up with the U.S. automotive giant.
GM meanwhile aims to make use of Isuzu’s engine technologies to boost its own pickup truck development, which lags behind its major rivals.
Isuzu plans to develop a successor to its D-MAX pickup that is produced in Thailand and was fully remodeled in 2011. The carmaker is expected to employ state-of-the-art environment technology for the new pickup, but has yet to decide on a possible launch date.
Isuzu and GM had ramped up their cooperation since agreeing a comprehensive alliance in 1971, but the U.S. company dissolved their capital alliance in 2006 amid a management crisis. While the U.S. automaker is exploring the possibility of reforming a capital tieup, Isuzu has shown reluctance so far.
The business tieup, which once included car development, has shrunk mostly to joint production of engines in the United States and vehicles in South America.
Imported vehicles soar
Sales of new imported vehicles climbed to a 15-year-high last year, thanks in part to an increase in overseas production of Japanese-brand vehicles on the back of the yen’s appreciation, an industry body reported Thursday.
Robust demand for new fuel-efficient models with foreign brand names also helped push up total annual sales by 14.6 percent to 315,993 units, the highest level since 1997, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said.