Isuzu has retained its position as the top medium size truck manufacturer in the world, beating nearest rival Ford by more than 13 000 in the 6,1 to 16 tonne category.

Isuzu has retained its position as the top medium size truck manufacturer in the world, beating nearest rival Ford by more than 13 000 in the 6,1 to 16 tonne category.

The figures were compiled from world production data supplied by automobile manufacturer associations in each country and for the year, Isuzu's medium truck production totalled 56 779 units.

Isuzu has also maintained its position as the leading Japanese manufacturer with combined medium and heavy truck production of 66 868 units compared with runner-up Mitsubishi's 39 831 units.

"An interesting point is that Isuzu registered gains in manufactured units while the majority of competitors saw production numbers shrink in tough trading conditions worldwide, said Malcolm Gauld, Delta Motor Corporation's sales and marketing director.

"Isuzu is justifiably pleased with the company's growth in its heavy truck (over 16,1 tonnes) production which increased by some 2500 units over the previous year's figures.

The manufacturing figures come shortly after the release of Isuzu's first quarter financial results which saw an operating profit of R712,8 million after last year's loss for the same period.

Isuzu registered sales growth of 13 per cent in the quarter on the back of a sales boom in the Japanese domestic market and growth in other key competitive markets. Combined with a cost-cutting drive and corporate restructuring, this helped to Isuzu to once again register profits.

Daimler Chrysler led total world medium and heavy truck production with a combined 77 959 units. Freightliner holds second position with 68 723 units produced, and Isuzu features in third position.