Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc., distributor of America’s best-selling low-cab-forward trucks, announced today that production of gasoline-powered Isuzu N-Series trucks will begin on April 18, 2011, at the Spartan Motors, Inc., facility in Charlotte, Michigan. The company made the announcement at the National Truck Equipment Association’s 2011 Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.
Isuzu N-Series Gas Truck (Photo: Business Wire)

Isuzu N-Series Gas Truck (Photo: Business Wire)

Gasoline-powered NPR (12,000-lb. GVWR) and NPR-HD (14,500-lb. GVWR) trucks will be available in Single Cab models with wheelbases of 109, 132.5, 150 and 176 inches, and in Crew Cab configurations with 150- and 176-inch wheelbases. Units are expected to arrive at Isuzu dealerships beginning in early May 2011.

The vehicles will complement the popular diesel-powered Isuzu N-Series trucks already available.

N-Gas models will be powered by a General Motors Vortec 6.0-liter V8 engine that produces 297 horsepower at 4,300 rpm and generates 372 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm.

In addition, a version of the engine compatible with compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) will be available.

Both versions of the gasoline powerplant will be mated to a GM Powertrain six-speed automatic transmission with double overdrive. Previous N-Series gasoline models offered only a four-speed automatic.

“We are very excited to reintroduce our line of gasoline-powered N-Series trucks to the marketplace, with a new 6-speed transmission that improves fuel economy and performance,” said Shaun Skinner, executive vice president and general manager of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America. “With these new models—and the introduction of the all-new Reach™ commercial van—we are proud that our dealers will once again offer the broadest range of low-cab-forward solutions in the industry.”

ICTA also announced here today the development of a revolutionary next-generation commercial van combining a body designed by the Utilimaster Corporation, a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, with Isuzu’s NPR diesel chassis. Full production of the new commercial van is expected to begin in the second half of 2011.

Skinner added, “We are especially excited that Spartan Motors—one of the industry’s most respected builders of high-quality customer chassis—will be assembling our N-Series gas trucks. Their quality workmanship will be an enormous benefit to us, to our dealers, and to the end users of our vehicles.”

Gasoline-powered N-Series trucks had been assembled by GM at its plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, until the plant ceased operations in 2009. In March 2010, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America announced that an agreement had been reached with GM for the supply of transmissions and gasoline engines to be used for gas-powered Isuzu NPR and NPR-HD trucks in both Single Cab and Crew Cab models, and that these vehicles would be reintroduced for the 2012 model year. The company announced that Spartan Motors had been selected to assemble the trucks in April 2010.

About Isuzu

Isuzu Motors Limited (Isuzu) is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Since building its first truck in 1918, Isuzu has sold over 26 million trucks worldwide. Among its innovations are the first air-cooled diesel engine in 1936, the first two-ton low-cab-forward truck in 1959, and the first direct-injection diesel engine.

Headquartered in Anaheim, California, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc. (ICTA), is the distributor of Isuzu commercial vehicles in the United States. Isuzu commercial trucks have been the best-selling low-cab-forward trucks in America every year since 1986. For more information, call (866) 441-9638 or visit www.isuzucv.com.

About Spartan Motors

Spartan Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPAR) ( www.spartanmotors.com), designs, engineers and manufactures specialty chassis, specialty vehicles and truck bodies and aftermarket parts for the RV, emergency-rescue, defense, delivery and service markets. The company’s brand names—Spartan TM, Crimson Fire TM, Crimson Fire Aerials TM, Road Rescue TM and Utilimaster ®—are known for quality, value, service and being the first to market with innovative products. The company employs approximately 1,600 people at facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Indiana and Texas. Spartan reported sales of $430 million in 2009 and is focused on becoming a global leader in the manufacture of specialty vehicles and chassis.

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