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2006 ISUZU i-280 and i-350 Pickups Premiere at New York International Auto Show

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
Izuzu i350

Powerful, Versatile Extended Cab and Crew Cab Models - Developed Jointly by Isuzu Motors Limited and General Motors - Scheduled to Begin Production in June

CERRITOS, Calif., March 24 -- Isuzu Motors America, Inc., today pulled the wraps off its new-for-2006 i-280 and i-350 pickups. The two models will join the Ascender 5-Passenger and 7-Passenger SUVs to double Isuzu's U.S. lineup of rugged, versatile vehicles. Production is scheduled to begin in Shreveport, Louisiana, in June 2005.

In announcing the new trucks, J. Terry Maloney, president of Isuzu Motors America, said, "The introduction of these midsize pickups will double our line-up and will strengthen both our dealers and our position in the market."

Development of the i-280 and i-350 Pickups

The i-280 and i-350 pickups represent a return to its roots for Isuzu in the United States-and a continuation of its partnership with General Motors.

The first vehicle built by Isuzu and sold in the U.S. after the company's historic agreement with General Motors was the Chevrolet Light Utility Vehicle -- the Chevy LUV truck -- in March 1972. Seven years later, the Chevy LUV 4x4 was named "Truck of the Year" by Motor Trend magazine. It continued as part of the Chevrolet lineup until 1982.

By that time, Isuzu had established its own dealer network in the United States and was selling its own version of the truck as the Isuzu P'Up.

Production of the Isuzu Hombre began in 1995. While the LUV had been built by Isuzu for GM, the Hombre was based on the then-current Chevy S-10 pickup, and was built at the GM factory in Shreveport, Louisiana.

In 1997, after 25 years of sharing one another's compact pickups, Isuzu Motors Limited and GM began to develop a new world-class midsize truck -- together.

Each company had its own area of responsibility. Isuzu -- as the lead engineer in the partnership -- had primary responsibility for packaging, interior design, powertrain strategy, establishing quality and cost targets, technical specifications, structure, and layout of the new truck.

And Isuzu shared responsibility with GM for styling, common component design, prototype production, and productivity studies.

Isuzu would build the truck for Thailand, and GM would build a version for North America here in the U.S.

Because of the vastly different requirements of these markets, in 2001 the two companies began pursuing separate final development of their own trucks. Powertrains for the Asia/export pickup were engineered by Isuzu, and for the North American version by GM.

In May 2002, the Isuzu D-Max was introduced in Thailand -- and immediately became a national sensation there. Production was doubled from the original plan within two months of introduction. In fact, the D-Max sold over 100,000 units in Thailand alone during its first year on the market -- good for a commanding 40 percent share of the Thai pickup truck market.

In August 2003, General Motors introduced two North American versions of this truck -- the Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon -- both produced at GM's factory in Shreveport.

The i-280 and i-350 Pickups are Isuzu variants of the North American version of the jointly developed truck, and will be produced in Shreveport. But as Maloney pointed out, "Make no mistake: this truck has Isuzu in its soul."

2006 Isuzu i-280 Extended Cab 4x2

The i-280 is the workhorse of the i pickup family. It will be available as an Extended Cab 4x2 with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission.

The i-280 will be powered by a 2.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine that develops 175 horsepower and 185 foot-pounds of torque -- the highest horsepower and torque in its class. Properly equipped, the i-280 can tow up to 3,200 pounds and carry a payload of over 1,500 pounds.

The engine develops so much power and punch for its size because of state-of-the-art features like:

   *  Electronic throttle control
   *  Electronically-controlled variable exhaust valve timing
   *  A strong, lightweight aluminum cylinder block with nodular iron
      crankshaft and lightweight pistons
   *  Dual chain-driven balance shafts

It's brawny, yes, but it's efficient, too. The i-280 is expected to deliver EPA fuel mileage estimates of 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission.

  The i-280 will be available in four trim levels:

   *  The entry-level S, designed for true truck duty with such features as:
      *  Heavy-duty suspension
      *  5,000-pound GVWR
      *  P225/75T15 tires
      *  15x6.5-inch aluminum wheels
      *  3.42 rear axle ratio
      *  Power steering
      *  Four-wheel anti-lock braking system
      *  Stainless-steel exhaust
      *  Automatic on-off headlamps
      *  Daytime running lights
      *  Lamp group, including door-operated dome lamp, front-door courtesy
         lamps and cargo bed lamp
      *  Electronically-tuned AM/FM stereo radio with clock, seek and scan,
         and four speakers
      *  Air conditioning
      *  Vinyl floor covering
      *  60/40 split front bench seat with easy-clean vinyl seat covering

   *  The S Plus Preferred Equipment Package, which adds:
      *  Carpeting
      *  Fabric seats
      *  Rear jump seats
      *  Storage compartment under rear seats
      *  AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 player
      *  Deep tinted windows
      *  Manual day/night rearview mirror with dual reading lamps

   *  The LS Package, which adds:
      *  Power windows
      *  Power door locks
      *  Power outside mirrors
      *  Remote keyless entry
      *  Tilt steering column
      *  Cruise control
      *  Six speakers
      *  Body side molding
      *  Front bucket seats with center console
      *  Deluxe seat fabric

   *  The top-of-the-line Luxury Package, which offers:
      *  Six-disc in-dash CD changer
      *  Electronic traction control with automatic locking rear
      *  Auto-dimming rearview mirror with dual map lamps, compass and
         outside temperature indicator
      *  Sliding rear window
      *  Fog lamps
      *  Leather-wrapped steering wheel
      *  Side curtain, side-impact airbags

  2006 Isuzu i-350 Crew Cab 4x4

If the i-280 is the workhorse truck of the family, the i-350 is the truck for a family of workhorses -- the fun and functional lifestyle leader of Isuzu's new line of pickups.

The i-350 will be available as a Crew Cab 4x4, with bigger tires, an off-road suspension and a standard four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission.

The standard Insta-Trac four-wheel drive system features a transfer case and shift control system designed and built by Isuzu Motors Limited. It lets drivers shift on the fly from two-wheel drive to four-high and back with just the touch of a button. And because the transfer case can be set in neutral, the i-350 -- like all Ascender four-wheel drive models -- can be dinghy-towed behind another vehicle.

Putting the power to all four wheels will be GM's innovative Vortec 3500 in-line five-cylinder engine -- a powerplant that provides the power of a V6 and the efficiency of a four.

Like the i-280, the i-350's engine employs an in-line configuration for low noise, vibration and harshness. This design -- mated to electronic throttle control, variable exhaust valve timing, an aluminum cylinder block and dual balance shafts -- results in an engine with the horsepower normally found in a V6 and the fuel efficiency expected of a four-cylinder.

This state-of-the-art engine produces 220 horsepower and 225 foot-pounds of torque -- while still expected to deliver EPA fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway -- while still providing a payload of 1,190 pounds and a towing capacity of 4,000 pounds.

Because it's the comfort and convenience leader of the i line, the i-350 will come standard with all of the equipment in both the Preferred Equipment and LS trim packages. As a result, amenities like AM/FM stereo with CD, MP3 and six speakers; full power; tilt; cruise and deluxe seat fabric will be included.

  Optional on the i-350 will be the Limited Package, which includes:
   *  Six-disc in-dash CD changer
   *  Eight-way power heated driver's seat
   *  Six-way power heated passenger seat
   *  Leather-appointed interior trim
   *  Auto-dimming rearview mirror with dual map lamps, compass and outside
      temperature indicator
   *  Sliding rear window
   *  Moonroof

  Dealer-Installed Accessories

Everyone knows how important it is to accessorize. And the i-280 and i-350 won't disappoint. Available dealer-installed accessories will include a hard folding bed cover; cargo bed edge protector; running boards; mudflaps; assist steps; and trailer provisions. More accessories will be announced closer to launch.

Production, Protection, Peace of Mind and Pricing

Isuzu Motors America expects to sell five to ten thousand i-280s and i-350s in the first year. And no wonder. Like the Ascender 7-Passenger and Ascender 5-Passenger SUVs, the i-280 and i-350 will be backed by Isuzu's 7-year/75,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and 7-year/75,000-mile roadside assistance program -- over twice as long as GM's 3-year/36,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and roadside assistance coverage.

These coverages are in addition to Isuzu's three-year/50,000-mile basic and six-year/100,000-mile perforation from corrosion warranties.

According to Maloney, "That peace of mind won't come at a hefty price. Although final pricing will not be announced until closer to launch, I can assure you that the i-280 and i-350 will be priced attractively and competitively."

"Today," Maloney concluded, "we return to our roots. With the rugged Ascender SUVs -- and now, the versatile i-280 and i-350 pickups, engineered and developed by both Isuzu and GM -- we will offer a full complement of the types of vehicles that made Isuzu famous."