The roots of Isuzu were planted when Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering Company made its first plans to manufacture vehicles. The Isuzu corporation was established in 1937, building upon the mother company, Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding, and Engineering Co., which set up a plant to manufacture automobiles in 1916. By 1935, a prototype bus with airbrakes and an engine under the floor was produced by Isuzu. After several name changes, the present company, Isuzu Motors Limited, was adopted in 1949. Its subcompact R-car came to America in October 1984. By February 1986 over 3 million total vehicles had been exported by Isuzu. The head office in Tokyo houses the coordination of activities of the seven manufacturing facilities located in Japan. Isuzu Motors Limited is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. American Isuzu Motors Inc. is headquartered in Cerritos, California. A state-of-the-art, 2.6-million-square-foot assembly facility is located in Lafayette, Indiana. Isuzu is a worldwide marketer and supplier of quality automobiles; at present, Isuzu exports to 150 countries around the world. The name comes from the Isuzu River near Japan's oldest shrine, the Ise Shrine of Mie prefecture. Isuzu's corporate mark, the twin pillars representing corporate and societal growth against the sunburst red background, reflects the company's determination to meet the needs of the age. Isuzu's drive into the future is evident in the revolutionary ceramic adiabatic engine. Incredibly light and durable, it can operate at very high temperatures, and therefore promises undreamed of levels of fuel economy and power output. The EDS (Easy Drive System) is the future of automatic transmissions; it is easier to use and is more adaptable. In 1971, GM and Isuzu Motors Limited sign an agreement under which GM acquires 34.2% interest in Isuzu. Initial plans are for GM to market and service Isuzu trucks. In 1998, General Motors and Isuzu Motors Ltd. announces the formation of a new joint venture company, DMAX Ltd., to manufacture 6.6-liter direct-injection diesel engines. The facility will be located in Moraine, OH. Isuzu Motors Ltd. and General Motors Corporation agree to further strengthen their business alliance in the commercial vehicle field. GM is to raise its equity share in Isuzu to 49 percent from its current 37.5 percent. In 1999, General Motors acquires 20 percent equity in Fuji Heavy Industries, the manufacturer of Subaru brand vehicles. General Motors establishes a strategic relationship with Honda Motor Company. Honda is to provide engines for a future GM vehicle built in North America and GM's partner Isuzu is to provide Honda with diesel engines for the European market. In January of 2003, GM's share of Isuzu's capital was altered from 49% to 12%. Isuzu and GM established a new joint venture company called GMI Diesel Engineering Ltd. (GMIDEL) for powertrain systems. Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering and Tokyo Gas and Electric Industrial Company, the predecessors of the current Isuzu, produced Japan's first truck. The company obtained a license to manufacture and sell England's Wolseley automobiles in Japan, setting a precedent for cooperative international ventures. Isuzu diesel engines, diesel-powered snow tractors and other equipment were delivered to Japan's Antarctic Observation Base and included sending Isuzu personnel to the South Pole. The equipment has been operational ever since. Isuzu's influence in the automotive world expanded with the agreement between Isuzu and General Motors Corporation covering the joint development and marketing of vehicles. Buick's Opel and the Chevrolet LUV truck became the first Isuzu-built vehicles to be offered for sale in American showrooms. American Isuzu Motors Inc. retailed its one-millionth unit in the United States. With the introduction of the all-new Trooper, Isuzu became the first import manufacturer to offer vehicles in three segments of the fast-growing sport utility market (mini, compact and full-size). A 1996 Rodeo was driven to victory in the Alcan Winter Rally for the second time. The Isuzu NPR has been the best-selling low cab forward medium-duty commercial truck in the U.S. for 14 consecutive years. The NPR GAS models are assembled in the U.S. and are the only gasoline-powered low cab forward medium-duty trucks in the U.S. Isuzu Motors America, Inc., merges with American Isuzu Motors Inc. and becomes the U.S. distributor of Isuzu light vehicles and diesel engines. Isuzu introduces Ascender 5-Passenger, Isuzu's most powerful six-cylinder SUV ever.