2. Isuzu NRR with step side body. (The step side is on the passenger side only.) November 22, 2010.
3. Sears/Budget crew cab Isuzu FSR, June 23, 1993. (Oklahoma plates)
4. Isuzu NPR with Spectra, No-Mar towing gear, Tampa FL April 27, 1994
Isuzu Motors Ltd has been the number one best seller in the low cab forward mid-weight range trucks in North America since 1986. That is when they joined with GMC and Chev to produce the N series. Marketed under the Isuzu, Chev and GMC banner, that arrangement has apparently ended, with Chev and GMC folding their W series into Isuzu. After November 1, 2010 only Isuzu dealers will be supporting the Chev and GMC W series, and all new truck sales will be Isuzus.
The story grows a bit murkier however. Apparently GM built all the Isuzu, Chev and GMC trucks in North America, and have or will close their factory. Isuzu has therefore turned to none other than Spartan Motors Inc (originally founded by Diamond Reo execs when White pulled the plug) to produce the Isuzu LCF models. At the same time Utilimaster (which is associated with Spartan -see previous post on Step-Vans) will develop a new type of step-van using the Isuzu frame and engine (strip chassis.) These will be gas engined trucks.
Isuzu is a major player on the world truck stage, including large trucks, but in North America confines itself to class 5-6 and 7 trucks-no heavies, and has gotten out of cars and SUVs long since. The largest shareholder in Isuzu is Toyota, with Mitsubishi also a shareholder.
The competition in the light LCF market includes Blue Diamond Truck Co (who?) a joint venture between Ford and Navistar, which since 2004 has been building vehicles in Escobedo, Mexico, using Mazda cabs. Thse are the Ford LCF and International CF500.
Also Hino, and UD (formerly Nissan, marketed by Freightliner) are in the LCF game.
For 2011 Isuzu will produce the NPR/W3500, NPR HD/W4500, NOR/W5500 and NRR/W5500 series with crew cab options.