General Motors is currently reviewing its global pickup strategy, after formally announcing it will be ending its manufacturing collaboration with Isuzu. The American-based manufacturer wants to offer a more premium pickup, as opposed to the more utilitarian Isuzu D-Max.
The agreement between Isuzu and General Motors for developing pickups began in 1976, when General Motors bought the right to sell badge-engineered versions of the Isuzu Faster, which were sold in the UK as the Bedford KB and later as the Vauxhall Brava.
However, GM withdrew from the European pickup market in 2002 but it has continued to sell badged-engineered versions of Isuzu pickups as the Chevrolet and Holden Colorado in Asia and Australasia. With sales of pickups growing globally, it seems GM is now rethinking its global pickup strategy.
“The direction each company wanted to take (for the vehicles) was changing,” an Isuzu spokesman said, adding that the Japanese truck maker intended to continue making trucks to be used as workhorse vehicles in markets including Australia, the Middle East, and Asia.
“Both GM and Isuzu agree that due to unique requirements for each company, joint development of the next-generation midsize pick-up truck for (GM) markets is no longer the optimal model for this project,” GM said in a statement.
An insider at the company told Automotive News that GM will be targeting lifestyle markets, which have witnessed significant growth over recent years, rather than the workhorse markets where Toyota, Mitsubishi and Isuzu have long had the upper hand. “It doesn’t make sense for us trying to copy the business strategy of the Japanese rivals in Southeast Asia,” the executive said.
GM is quite clear that its next generation global pickup will be a premium and up-market product, which appeals well to the developed markets. Given the small market volumes of Australasia and the fact this pickup cannot be exported to the US because of the chicken tax, it’s highly likely that it will be heading to European shores.
Professional Pickup & 4×4 Magazine is currently (25/07/16) waiting to hear back from Vauxhall and General Motors Europe in Germany for comment with regards to this development.
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