Isuzu adds Cummins diesel, ventures deeper into Class 6/7 trucks

John G Smith

Isuzu Commercial Truck is venturing into heavier territory, introducing Cummins diesel engines to support Class 6 and 7 applications.

The OEM’s F Series low cab forward trucks will now come exclusively with a six-cylinder Cummins B6.7 engine that delivers 260 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque.

Isuzu Commercial Truck of Canada president Shaun Skinner (left) discusses the new partnership with Rob Neitke, executive director of Cummins’ north American truck OEM business. (Screen capture)

“Trying to expand into Class 7 with a four-cylinder (gasoline) engine would really have been close to impossible,” said Isuzu Commercial Truck of Canada and Isuzu Commercial Truck of America president Shaun Skinner, responding to a question from Today’s Trucking.

“It now opens up just about the entire Class 6 and 7 environment.”

In Class 7, that means more opportunities in segments such as food and beverage applications and street sweepers. But it also supports other medium-duty applications directly linked to the rapidly growing e-commerce activity.

“There aren’t going to be a lot of people who look at our truck and say it will be underpowered,” Skinner said.

Global interest

Isuzu and Cummins are clearly looking beyond the North American market alone. Skinner described it as merely the first biproduct of a powertrain partnership between the two companies.

Cummins and Isuzu had previously announced that they’re looking to integrate the engine into Isuzu’s chassis to meet Japanese emission regulations. They’ve also entered an Advanced Technology Agreement that covers joint research into various powertrain technologies — including electric options.

The Cummins B Series diesel engines have proven themselves over almost 40 years of service, said Rob Neitke, executive director of Cummins’ North American truck OEM business. And they’ve been put to work in diverse segments including agriculture, mining, and construction.

The Class 6 FTR will come with a 25,950-lb. gross vehicle weight rating, while the Class 7 FVR will venture into 33,000-lb. territory. Customers will also have the option of derating an FVR to a Class 6.

The engine will be mated to an Allison 2500 RDS transmission.

The truck itself will come in eight wheelbases, ranging from 152 to 248-inch BBCs, and include some of the largest bodies that can fit on a medium-duty truck. Styling-related upgrades include a new grille and LED headlamps.

More options in the works

More options may be in the works.

The company is also exploring future options of a vertical exhaust and the Allison 3000 Series transmission, although those are not available at this time, Skinner said. The first trucks will also be available exclusively with air brakes.

The news comes on the heels of news that Isuzu has started production on its Class 5 gasoline-powered trucks including the NQR and NRR units, both of which will come with a 6.0-liter V8. That makes the NRR the first 19,500-lb GVWR low cab forward to come with a gasoline option, Isuzu says.

The OEM has been the top-selling low-cab-forward truck in the combined U.S. and Canadian markets since 1986, Skinner added.

Production is slated to begin in the third quarter of this year, with deliveries to begin in the fourth quarter. The current FTR and the 2021 Model Year units will continue to be built until the end of March.

John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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