Small, but the oldest, Japanese automotive manufacturer, founded in 1916. Initially licensing cars from Wolseley prewar, and Rootes postwar, Isuzu also flirted with a number of other Japanese manufacturers, including Nissan, Subaru and Mitsubishi, before partnering with GM in 1971. GM took a 34, later 49 per cent, stake in the Japanese company, providing it access to the North American market, but the bottom eventually fell out of Isuzu passenger car sales. Teaming up with Honda, Isuzu offered a range of rebadged cars, while focusing on its off-road line-up, which Honda duly rebadged for its own range. By the mid-2000s, Isuzu had ceased selling passenger cars, and fielded only SUVs and trucks, while GM’s stake had reduced to 12 per cent. The SUV line eventually disappeared, too. Currently, Toyota is its third-largest share-holder, with a 5·9 per cent stake.
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