The current Isuzu lineup includes Class 3 through Class 5 N-Series trucks and the Class 6 FTR...

The current Isuzu lineup includes Class 3 through Class 5 N-Series trucks and the Class 6 FTR (pictured).

Photo courtesy of ICTA

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc., (ICTA) distributor of America’s best-selling low-cab-forward trucks, celebrates the 35th anniversary of Isuzu trucks in the United States.  

Isuzu Truck of America, Inc. was founded on March 21, 1984 and the first Isuzu truck arrived in the U.S. in November the same year. The KS22 model had a no-tilt cab and was powered by an 87-hp engine.

The KS22 was quickly embraced by American truck buyers who were looking for durability, dependability, and low cost of ownership in a medium-duty truck. In 1986, a little more than a year after its stateside launch, Isuzu became the best-selling low-cab-forward truck in the United States, a position it has maintained ever since — an unprecedented 32 consecutive years, according to the automaker.

Today, Isuzu trucks command 73% of the Class 3 through Class 5 U.S. low-cab forward truck market. The current Isuzu lineup includes Class 3 through Class 5 N-Series trucks and the Class 6 FTR. Available powerplants include diesel and gasoline choices as well as the first CNG- and LPG-capable engine offered in a cabover truck.

Earlier in March, Isuzu announced that it would add two gasoline-powered Class 5 models in mid-2020, further expanding the lineup.

“While we are celebrating Isuzu trucks’ first 35 years in the North American market, we’re really looking forward,” said Shaun Skinner, president of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America and Isuzu Commercial Truck of Canada. “The new NQR and NRR gasoline trucks coming next year demonstrate that we are focused on the future, and providing quality, reliability, and low cost of operation to the North American marketplace for another 35 years and beyond.”

Highlights of Isuzu Truck Heritage

  • 1922: Japan's first domestically produced automobile
  • 1924: The first Japanese-built Wolseley CP 1.5-ton payload truck
  • 1936: Japan’s first air-cooled diesel engine.
  • 1956: Isuzu diesel engines, diesel-powered snow tractors and other equipment are delivered to Japan’s Antarctic Observation Base. Isuzu equipment has been operational at the South Pole ever since.
  • 1959: Isuzu Motors Limited introduces the world’s first 2-ton light-duty forward-control truck, the first generation of a line of vehicles now marketed in the United States as the N-Series.
  • 1984: Isuzu trucks enter the U.S. market with the KS22.
  • 1986: R.L. Polk certifies that Isuzu is the best-selling import commercial truck in the United States. Isuzu has now held that position for 32 consecutive years.
  • 1988: The two-millionth N-Series truck rolls off the assembly line in Japan.
  • 1994: The first U.S.-built gasoline-powered NPR-EFI is assembled in Janesville, Wis.
  • 2002: Cumulative sales of Isuzu trucks in the United States exceed 275,000 units.
  • 2005: The 50,000th N/W-Series gasoline-powered truck is built in Janesville, Wisconsin.
  • 2010: Isuzu N-Series Trucks are the first medium-duty low-cab-forward trucks on the market to be EPA 2010 and CARB HD-OBD compliant and to be 50-state clean-idle certified.    
  • 2011: Reach, a revolutionary new walk-in van powered by Isuzu, begins production in Wakarusa, Ind.
  • 2012: Reach is named Medium-Duty Truck of the Year by Work Truck magazine.
  • 2013: Isuzu N-Series is named Medium-Duty Truck of the Year by Work Truck magazine.
  • 2015: Isuzu delivers its 500,000th Isuzu-built truck since entering the North American market.   
  • 2016: Isuzu opens its first Center of Excellence in northeast Pennsylvania—a state-of-the-art, 130,000-square-foot parts distribution, training, and technical assistance facility.
  • 2017: Second Isuzu Center of Excellence opens in Anaheim, California.
  • 2017: Production of all-new Class 6 Isuzu FTR begins.
  • 2018: Isuzu sells 23,914 Isuzu-brand trucks in the U.S., a new record.
  • 2018: Isuzu FTR named Medium-Duty Truck of the Year by Work Truck magazine.
  • 2018: The 50,000th N-Series gasoline-powered truck assembled by Spartan Motors rolls off the line in Charlotte, Mich.
  • 2018: Isuzu, in partnership with Nordresa, unveils prototype eNPR-HD all-electric truck.
  • 2019: Isuzu celebrates 35 years of Isuzu trucks in the North American market.
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