Byline: Dave Boe
In an attempt to institute a major about face, American Isuzu announced reduced pricing for many of its 2003 models.
Isuzu finds itself at an important cross road. While sport utilities continue to sell very well across industry line, Isuzu's all SUV lineup is having trouble finding homes. Sales in the Unites States and Japan have slowed and the company is in the midst of a three-year turn-around plan to restore profitability.
Next year, Isuzu plans to sell between 30,000 and 40,000 in North America. At one time, the Japanese Automaker sold more than 100,000 units annually. Isuzu is 48.5 percent owned by General Motors, the world's largest automaker. The 2003 lineup includes the all-new Ascender, Axiom, Rodeo and Rodeo Sport.
Isuzu's SUV lineup consists of rugged truck-based, body-on-frame construction designed to go off-road. While this type ushered in the SUV craze decades ago, a new breed of car-based (Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4) and minivan-based SUVs (Honda Pilot, Acura MDX and soon-to-arrive Chrysler Pacifica) have joined the market place and stole some of the old-timer's thunder. This newer array of car- based SUVs are generally lighter in weight and lighter on the pocketbook.
So while Isuzu currently does not posses any of the "SUV Lights" in its lineup, it does offer a nice selection go-anywhere vehicles, many of which are priced lower than before. Isuzu accomplished these reductions, in part, by eliminating infrequently used features and making less popular equipment optional while retaining popular items standard. …