Isuzu has consolidated its US operations, the company said yesterday, by combining American Isuzu Motors Inc., distributor of sport utility vehicles and diesel engines, with parent company Isuzu Motors America Inc. as one organization called Isuzu Motors America (ISZA).

The change, effective from April 1, means ISZA is now responsible for all Isuzu operations in the US except commercial truck sales and support. That operation, General Motors Isuzu Commercial Truck (GMICT), will operate as an independent unit.

A spokesman said the consolidation would make Isuzu more competitive and help it to accomplish goals outlined in its V-Plan -- released last March -- which calls for creating a lean business structure free of redundancies.

"The goal of the V-Plan is to improve overall efficiency," the spokesman said. "The consolidation helps us to achieve that goal."

Isuzu sales nosedived 38.1 percent last month and its first quarter sales fell by 39.7 percent, according to WardsAuto.com data.

Kozo Sakaino remains chairman and CEO for the reorganised US company and continues in his current role as senior managing director for Isuzu Motors Japan.

The current president of American Isuzu Motors, Yasuyuki Sudo, will serve as an assistant to Sakaino. The current president of Isuzu Motors America, Toshio Maeda, becomes vice chairman of ISZA.

Among several other management changes, Terry Maloney, the former executive vice president of Isuzu Motors America, becomes president/COO for ISZA operations and also becomes executive vice president of the SUV division, formerly held by Duke Hale, who has left the company to pursue other interests.

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