( Worldcarfans ) - After several years of steadily decreasing sales, Isuzu is throwing in the towel. The company announced Thursday that sport-utility vehicle and pickup truck sales in North America will end in a year. Isuzu cites decreasing demand, General Motors' upcoming cancellation of the platforms underpinning the Ascender and i-series pickups and a lack of commercially viable replacements as reasons for the pullout. The move is expected to allow Isuzu to concentrate on its more successful commercial vehicle business in North America.
The move doesn't surprise industry analysts. Isuzu's passenger-vehicle sales barely reached 7000 last year. Isuzu's sales aren't the only thing that has shrunk in recent years. Isuzu's SUV lineup, once filled out with familiar stalwarts like the Trooper and Rodeo, has since dwindled to just a single model--the Chevrolet Trailblazer-based Ascender. The short-lived Axiom, introduced in 2002, was unable to halt the sales slide.
Owners of current Isuzu products need not worry; in addition to having easy-to-service General Motors underpinnings, Isuzu says that it will continue to provide parts and service for the vehicles already on the ground. That's good news for those buyers who chose their Ascenders and i-350s because of the company's impressive 7-year/75,000-mile powertrain warranty.