Well, it’s February. That means Isuzu’s passenger car division has quietly exited, stage left, from the US auto market as we reported would happen year ago.
The end of an era! Our brief time with Isuzu began in the 70s when General Motors, desperate for a small car, sold Geminis rebadged as Opels. The Isuzu brand itself eventually did make it stateside, most well-known for its SUVs like the Trooper, Rodeo, Amigo and the bizarre VehiCROSS. Ultimately, as market share decreased, it was relegated to selling rebadged GM trucks.
Isuzu’s most popular – a relative term, to be sure – car was the Impulse, which in later generations was also rebadged as the Geo Storm. We always thought that if the company had only ventured into US sales earlier, with its pioneering JDM models like the twin-cam Bellet GT-R (pictured above) or the 117 Coupe, it would have fared better.
In memoriam, we have posted some old Isuzu USA ads, starring middling sit-com star David Leisure as your prototypical slimy car salesman, Joe Isuzu.
Fun fact: the bullet footage could only be filmed using yet another Impulse.
This P’up is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
This is what they call drag racing.
From before the days of political correctness.
Clearly, Joe Isuzu was cheating with non-standard tires.
Go tell it on the mountain, Joe!
The company’s sole focus will now be on commercial trucks. Sayonara, Isuzu.