Story and photos by Ronald Rey M. de los Reyes
LOOKING back, Isuzu indeed has a long history in the Philippines. The king of diesel engines made its presence felt first through its line of trucks in the 1950s—a decade after the desolation begotten by World War II.
In 1972 General Motors and Isuzu joined forces to establish GM Philippines, which was then followed by the creation of Isuzu Motors Pilipinas in 1989, a company fully owned by Isuzu Motors Limited in Japan. On July 31, 1997, with the latter, Mitsubishi Corp., Ayala Corp. and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. teamed up together to establish Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC) with its official launch of the 13-hectare manufacturing plant in Laguna Technopark in Binan, Laguna. Today the company’s manufacturing facility produces about 15, 000 units annually.
Recently, the known truck maker basked in the vast space of the World Trade Center in Pasay City in revelry of its thriving twentieth year in the country.
IPC executives led by President Hajime Koso, together with Isuzu Motors Ltd. Japan President and CEO Masanori Katayama; Mitsubishi Corp. Japan Executive Vice President and Group CEO of Machinery Kazushi Okawa; MMDA General Manager and Transportation Undersecretary Thomas M. Orbos; Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Japan Manila Takehiro Kano; and Ayala Corp. President Fernando Zobel de Ayala, along with dignitaries, dealers and members of the Philippine motoring media, spearheaded the anniversary rites.
“We are very proud of our journey and what we have achieved. But we didn’t do it by ourselves. Various groups and individuals have given us support in order for us to reach this,” Koso shared during this ceremonial speech.
According to him, the shareholders, suppliers and their valued customers all contributed to their success.
“There are three key elements to our achievement. These are market proximity, product quality that ensures drivability, reliability and efficiency; and, finally, our after-sales service, which is committed to provide customers worry-free ownership, parts availability and valued customer assistance,” he said.
Aside from Koso, Isuzu Motors Ltd. Japan’s head honcho Katayama was able to impart some words to its local counterpart: “IPC has achieved successful growth. In fact, it has attained the biggest growth in the Southeast Asian region during the past 20 years.”
This, after IPC has been the country’s ever-tenacious leader in the bus and truck segment for 17 years while also creating a strong impact in the LCV sales segment with our Isuzu mu-X as one of the global sales front-runner with 12, 657 units sold last year.
With its recent 100th year celebration, for the worldwide diesel titan, the Philippine market also has essential contributions to this milestone.
Meanwhile, MMDA’s Orbos was able to commend IPC on behalf of the government for their nation-building initiatives.
“We thank IPC for being part of 200,000 jeepneys as part of our PUV modernization program.”
The country’s diesel experts, for him, benefited the transportation sector by providing good financing scheme with their 5 percent down payment, 6 percent interest rate per annum and seven years to allotment for payment.
“Truly, you are our responsible partner in transportation,” he lauded. While, in fact, during an exclusive interview with Ayala Corp.’s principal, their elation for IPC was indeed no less than palpable.
“It’s been a successful 20 years and I see that it will be a more successful 20 years ahead,” the ever-confident de Ayala extolled.
Blue comes to power
After the anniversary ceremonies, IPC executives then introduced their new product: Isuzu’s Blue Power Technology.
This Blue Power technology is an eco-friendly diesel engine designed to promote green technology and it is present on the new lineup of Isuzu vehicles. They are said to provide maximum engine output, cleaner emissions, superb fuel economy, as well as engine durability.
For one, the 4JJ1-TCX engine on the D-MAX and mu-X is said to produce 177 hp and a maximum torque of 380 Nm while complying with Euro 4 standards.
Meanwhile, the newly reengineered full-model change is the all-new Isuzu N-Series light-duty trucks, namely: the 4JH1-TC (NLR77 model), 4JJ1-TC (NLR85, NMR85 and NPR85 models) and 4HK1-TCN (NQR75 model).
Furthermore, their medium-duty truck lineup, F-Series, also sports the new Blue Power technology, such as the 4HK1-TC (FRR); 6HK1-TCN (FSR and FVR) and the 6HK1-TCS (FVM) engines.
While their C & E Series range has made the monumental leap toward cleaner emissions: the 6WG1-TGR is now Euro compliant, meaning the engine has higher torque at low speed area due to the modified turbocharger and increasing engine displacement.
Koso conveyed, “This country has become our second home and gave us the wings to soar higher than what we were 20 years back. We are looking forward to 20 years and more. To our loyal partners, may you continue to put your trust on us and we promise that we will be finding more ways to meet your expectations.”