Behind the Badge: Secrets of the Isuzu Name and Logo
Isuzu Motors Ltd, the Japanese manufacturer headquartered in Tokyo, is the world’s largest truck producer, specializing in commercial vehicles and diesel engines. Its full name being Isuzu Jidōsha Kabushiki-Kaisha, the company was named after a river that flows past a Japanese shrine. The name means “fifty bells pealing in harmony and celebrations.”
Isuzu began in 1916 when the Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering company wanted to expand its production to involve automobiles. By 1922, its first car was built in partnership with British manufacturer Wolseley Motors. The Japanese government’s promotion of domestic auto production helped boost the company in the following decades, which resulted in the formation of Isuzu Motors Ltd in 1949.
The company’s production of medium and heavy-duty trucks continued to grow, attracting investors from around the world. General Motors formed a partnership with Isuzu in the 1970s that led to many Japanese models being rebadged for the US market.
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Explanation of the Isuzu Logo
In honor of the company’s new beginning with General Motors, Isuzu developed a new logo in 1974. The badge can be described as two vertical white pillars against a red background.
There are three main explanations of the emblem:
- The pillars are stylized representations of the first syllable of いすゞ (“Isuzu” in Japanese).
- The pillars are a stamp of excellence based on a common mark of quality used by craftsmen
- The pillars are actually a white symbol divided in half by a red background, representing “corporate and societal growth against the sunburst red background, [reflecting] the company’s determination to meet the needs of the age” (per Isuzu).
The logo has disappeared from Isuzu models over the years but is still seen on corporate communications within the company. Now, the Isuzu badge is text-based, with the “S” and “Z” being mirror images of each other.
Love thinking about the secrets behind automobile logos like Isuzu’s? Check out the rest of our Behind the Badge series examining automotive brand logos!
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- Aaron WidmarSenior Editor
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing... See more articles by Aaron.