Isuzu Buys Land for U.S. Truck Plant in Alabama

Japan's Isuzu Motors said on Monday it has bought land for a U.S. truck plant in Alabama, pushing ahead with plans to reestablish a production base in the world's biggest vehicle market.

The truck maker declined to provide details on plans for the factory but a source said the plant was scheduled to come on line around 2010 and initial annual production capacity would be several thousand units.

After years of restructuring, Isuzu is pinning its hopes on increasing truck sales in the United States, hoping to offset stagnating domestic demand.

It pulled out of a joint vehicle production venture with Fuji Heavy Industries in 2002 which built sport utility vehicles.

Isuzu said in December it was looking at building a plant in North America, adding that a local factory would be appropriate when U.S. truck sales reached 50,000 units a year.

It is looking at building 2-3 ton trucks, adding to Isuzu's sole offering of 3.5 ton N-series trucks in the U.S., a source has said.

The truck maker sold some 28,000 units in the U.S. in 2006, most of which were exported. It subcontracts production of the gasoline version of the N-series to former top shareholder General Motors .

Isuzu spokesman Koitsu Mabuchi said the land cost $7.8 million.