Izuzu, one of the world's largest manufacturers of medium and heavy trucks, can trace its foundation back to the Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd in 1893. The company which, like so many Japanese companies, did not restrict their activities to a single manufacturing area and were ready to pursue developing markets and technologies as they arose. Thus, in 1916, they entered a cooperative endeavour with Tokyo Gas and Electric Industrial Company to manufacture motor vehicles. In 1934, the business became known as Automotive Industries, making trucks in the 'Izuzu' range. Izuzu became the name for the company after it was reconstructed in 1947 after the second world war.
The first vehicles, the A-9 car in 1922 and the CP truck of 1924, were built with the assistance of the Wolseley Motor Company, developing their range of trucks slowly, until they introduced their first air-cooled diesel engine in 1936. In 1953, Izuzu again sought foreign help to produce cars, this time hooking up with the Rootes Group to produce the Hillman Minx while the commercial division continued to develop, with its first two-ton low cab forward truck in 1959.
Having introduced a direct-injection diesel engine, Izuzu broke into the world-wide market through a deal with General Motors that saw GM badges on trucks and cars until the 1980's, when they began selling under their own name everywhere, as well as making the diesel engines for Renault, Opel and other General Motors marques in Europe and Australia.
Nowadays, their Elf, Forward and Giga series trucks are seen everywhere and continue to be the company's greatest design achievement. However, Izuzu has not neglected car manufacturing, developing reliable diesel SUV and pick-up ranges for the mass market. Their reliability is such that a solid used Izuzu car market has grown. Second hand Izuzu cars, the Trooper and Rodeo SUV's are readily available.