American Isuzu Motors Inc. is resisting the industry's stampede to introduce sport wagons.
Isuzu's brain trust is sticking with its plan to emphasize the company's truck heritage and the off-road capabilities of its lineup of sport-utilities.
The production version of the company's newest model - the offbeat VehiCross - was unveiled at a San Diego trade show for retailers of outdoor sporting equipment.
Isuzu also has adopted the advertising tag line: 'No cars. No apologies.' To underline the point, Isuzu executives sported buttons showing a car crossed out with a diagonal red line, the international symbol for 'No.'
Having cleared up any doubts about the product plans, Isuzu executives laid out their marketing strategy for dealers during the make meeting at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention. It includes:
Expansion of its consumer financing operation nationwide within two years. Isuzu Motors Acceptance Corp. now offers retail financing in 10 states and financing for commercial trucks in all 50 states. However, the operation will not make loans to subprime customers.
Plans to sell 2,400 to 3,000 VehiCross units in the first year after it is introduced in March. It will be Isuzu's halo vehicle.
Introduction of a two-wheel-drive Trooper in September, giving the Trooper a lower starting price. With the 2wd version in the lineup, Isuzu hopes to boost annual Trooper sales to 30,000, up from 18,191 last year.
Introduction of a facelifted Rodeo with a repositioned spare tire this fall. Isuzu will move the spare from the rear door to a bracket underneath the rear chassis.
Beefed-up advertising in California, where Isuzu's market share has been dented by other imports. Nationwide, Isuzu will buy 26 weeks' worth of spot TV ads this year. In California, Isuzu will buy 42 weeks of TV ads.