Taking advantage of Orange County's proximity to its dealers in three counties, American Isuzu Motors Inc., a subsidiary of Isuzu Motors Ltd. of Japan, plans to move its regional headquarters from the City of Industry to Irvine by summer.
Isuzu has 68 dealerships in California and about half of them are in Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles counties, said Bill Miller, Isuzu corporate operations manager.
"We are happy with the City of Industry, but Orange County puts us closer to our dealers," Miller said. "It is a centralized location in these counties. It primarily puts us closer to dealers who may have to fly in for meetings."
Orange County is also a high-tech environment that is attractive to auto companies, Miller said.
Other priorities for Isuzu are easier access to an airport--such as Orange County's John Wayne Airport--and more autonomy for its regional headquarters, where 22 employees work primarily in sales and service, Miller said. The auto company's regional headquarters is presently next door to its national office, which will remain in the City of Industry.
"Our company salespeople do a lot of traveling, and we often have to get to planes fast. That's very difficult in Los Angeles where the traffic is just awful," Miller said.
In the past five years Asian auto companies have swarmed into Orange County beginning with Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, which founded its U.S. headquarters in Fountain Valley in 1983. Suzuki of America Automotive Corp. picked Brea in July, 1985, and Korea's Hyundai Motor America chose Garden Grove in 1985.
Largest Asian Auto Makers
The two largest Asian auto makers--Toyota and Nissan--have settled into Orange County regional offices but are maintaining national offices in Los Angeles County. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. is in Torrance, and its regional office is in Newport Beach; Nissan Motor Corp. U.S.A. is in Carson, and its regional office is in Costa Mesa.
Isuzu has six regional offices in the United States, which take care of sales and services. Customer relations services and dealer training are provided at the headquarters. Isuzu will probably not be hiring many employees because most of the workers will be transferred from the City of Industry, Miller said. Four to five openings will probably occur in the clerical department.
Isuzu's nationwide retail sales for 1986 were 117,602 cars and trucks. The Isuzu line includes Y-Mark, a family sedan; Impulse, a sports car, and Trooper, a four-wheel-drive truck.