Isuzu plots life after GM

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America will reintroduce its most popular truck – the gasoline-powered N-Series low-cab forward -- under a new assembly agreement with specialty vehicle maker Spartan Motors. The Class 3 and 4 gasoline versions of the N-Series had been assembled at General Motor’s Janesville, WI, plant until that facility was closed last year as part of GM’s restructuring

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America will reintroduce its most popular truck – the gasoline-powered N-Series low-cab forward -- under a new assembly agreement with specialty vehicle maker Spartan Motors. The Class 3 and 4 gasoline versions of the N-Series had been assembled at General Motor’s Janesville, WI, plant until that facility was closed last year as part of GM’s restructuring. GM will continue to supply Isuzu with its 6-liter V8 gasoline engine and Hydra-Matic 6-spd. automatic transmission. Diesel engine versions of the N-Series will continue to be built in Japan.

The Spartan Motors agreement will also produce an all-new walk-in van based on the NPR chassis and 3-liter diesel engine, according to Isuzu. The van’s body will be designed and built by Utilimaster Corp.

Assembly of the revived NPR and NPR-HD gasoline powered trucks will begin at an unspecified Spartan facility in the second quarter of 2011, with the trucks designated as 2012 models, according to Isuzu. Both versions will be offered in single and crew cabs models.

The new van, also scheduled to begin production in 2011, will be offered in 134-in. and 151-in. wheelbases, and 10-, 12- and 14-ft. lengths with GVWRs up to 12,000 lbs., according to Isuzu. It will feature what Isuzu is calling “a modular cargo area” that will be available with “a choice of integrated vocational packages specifically designed for their applications,” according to a press release from the company.

Spartan Motors is a manufacturer of specialty chassis, vehicles and bodies for RV, emergency rescue, defense and delivery applications. It has facilities in five states and employs 1,600, according to the release.

In a separate announcement, Isuzu’s U.S. operation said Yokohama Tire has agreed to provide commercial tires and support service though Isuzu’s 300 truck dealership network. Under the new program, the dealers will offer customers Yokohama replacement tires for light-, medium- and heavy-duty applications. Yokohamas also become the approved replacement tires under Isuzu’s service maintenance program, according to the company.

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