One of the worst kept secrets in the global truck business looks to be coming into clear view, with Isuzu Motors set to outsource diesel truck engines to US truck powerplant and drivetrain specialist, Cummins, a move which is believed to be aimed at allowing the Japanese truck maker to focus on emerging technologies, according to Japanese financial news source, Nikkei.
The deal is set to begin later this year and will help save tens of millions of dollars in research and development expenses for Isuzu each year.
It comes as vehicle makers around the world are scrambling to not only develop powerplants that meet increasingly stringent emissions standards but also to develop all new zero emission drive trains, including Hydrogen fuel cell electric and battery electric power.
This will be the first time Isuzu has used third-party engines in its truck models.
It is understood that the Cummins powerplants will be deployed in Isuzu’s higher horsepower medium and heavy duty trucks with the first Cummins powered Isuzus expected to hit American roads later this year, ahead of their release in Japan and other markets.
Stringent new vehicle emission rules in the USA, which the new Biden administration has indicated it will enforce, has created headaches for other truck makers as well. Hino announced in late December, that it has shutdown new truck production and sales in the USA until at least October this year, due to being unable to meet the emission standards
The Cummins engine will be tuned for each market to meet local regulations and requirements and it is understood Isuzu will take responsibility for the spec and tuning in each market.
It is believed the other side of the partnership will see Isuzu supply Cummins with its own engines for small trucks for other makers , while the US company focuses on developing large engines for trucks and construction vehicles.
The partnership has been active for almost two years, with the two companies starting cooperation in 2019 to work on next-generation, low-emissions engines, with the latest initiative representing an expansion of the partnership to cover existing diesel engines.
Isuzu sold a total of 290,000 trucks globally in the year to the end of March 2020.
Isuzu has also entered co-operation agreements with other automotive groups for new technology development including Volvo Group, which it purchased the UD brand from, and with whom it will work on fuel cell and electric drive tech with and also Honda with whom it is working on developing autonomous drive technology.