Isuzu cuts U.S. SUV output by 20%

TOKYO — Isuzu Motors Ltd. will cut production of its sport-utilities in the United States in anticipation of tougher market conditions following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Isuzu, owned 49 percent by General Motors, will cut the monthly output of its Rodeo and Axiom at Subaru-Isuzu Automotive Inc. by roughly 20 percent to about 5,600 in October and November. The plant, in Lafayette, Ind., is owned jointly with Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.

"We have begun production adjustment because the market has increasingly been competitive and demand is uncertain," said Momoki Tsujimura, an Isuzu spokesman. The production cut over the next two months won't lead to any cut in workers at the plant, Tsujimura said.

Isuzu hopes to get production of those sport-utilities back to a current level of about 7,000 in December. They would be split between 5,500 Rodeos and 1,500 Axioms. Earlier, Isuzu said it would produce 64,000 Rodeos for this year. The Axiom, which debuted in April, has been falling far short of its monthly sales target of 2,000.

Meanwhile, Fuji, maker of Subaru-brand cars, hasn't changed its production plans, which call for making 107,000 Legacys this year at the Lafayette plant.

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