Isuzu KB |
1.8 L SOHC straight-4 |
Isuzu C223 diesel
4-speed manual |
102.4 in (2,601 mm) |
117.9 in (2,995 mm)
104.3 in (2,649 mm)
The Chevrolet LUV is a light truck marketed in North America by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors as a rebadged variant of the KB pickup truck manufactured in Japan by Isuzu. Sales began in the United States in March 1972 as a response to the Datsun and Toyota trucks, as well as Ford's Mazda-built Courier. The LUV was superseded in the United States by the US-built Chevrolet S-10 after 1982.
The name LUV comes from the initials of Light Utility Vehicle.
To circumvent the 25% tariff on light trucks (known as the chicken tax), LUVs (as with Ford Couriers) were imported in "cab chassis" configurations, which included the entire light truck, less the cargo box or truck bed and were only subject to a 4% tariff. Subsequently, a truck bed would be attached to the chassis and the vehicle could be sold as a light truck.
The LUV used a traditional truck chassis with a ladder frame and a leaf spring/live axle rear suspension. In front, an independent suspension used A-arm suspension. The 102.4 in (2.6 m) wheelbase was similar to its competitors, as was the six-foot (1.8 m) bed. The only engine was a 1.8 L SOHC straight-4 which produced 75 hp (56 kW).
The LUV's exterior was updated slightly for 1974, but the first real update came in the 1976 model year, when a 3-speed automatic transmission option and front disc brakes were added. Power was up to 80 hp (60 kW) for 1977, and sales continued to rise. An exterior refresh and the addition of a 7.5 ft (2.3 m) bed option, with 117.9 in (3 m) wheelbase, brought sales up in 1978 to 71,145.
The addition of four wheel drive in 1979 brought the LUV to the attention of Motor Trend magazine, and earned it their second Truck of the Year award. Sales peaked at 100,192.
The truck was redesigned for 1981 with the wheelbase stretched by 1.9 in (48 mm) to 104.3 in (2.6 m). The gas engine remained the same but the LUV was now available with an Isuzu C223 diesel engine making 58 hp (43 kW) at 4300 rpm and 93 ft·lbf (126.1 Nm) at 2200 rpm. This new engine gave the 2WD diesel LUV a fuel economy rating of 33 mpg-US (7.1 L/100 km/40 mpg-imp) city / 44 mpg-US (5.3 L/100 km/53 mpg-imp) highway.
The LUV name is still used today on badge-engineered versions of the Isuzu D-Max. That version was also sold unofficially in the UK as an alternative to the domestic Rodeo in pickup and commercial vehicles dealers.
South American production as Chevrolet LUV
This Isuzu pick-up was also made in Chile from Japanese CKD sets in Chevrolet's plant in Arica from 1980  to October, 2005 (replaced with LUV D-Max). At the start, the versions assembled were the K-26 and K-28. In 1988 came the TF model, which reached a 40% of domestic parts, and was exported successfully to Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, México, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, and Venezuela, from 1993. In total, more than 220.000 units were produced.
By the late 1980 it was assembled in Bogotá, Colombia, by Colmotores  and in Quito, Ecuador, by Omnibus BB Transportes (now General Motors Ecuador). That meant the introduction of the light pickup truck in the Andean market, in a package that included a 1,600 cc (98 cu in) 4 cylinder engine, making 80 hp (60 kW), that can carry up to 1 ton of cargo.
In 1999, Thai Rung Union Car from Thailand supplied the Chevrolet plant in Arica, Chile body parts of their Grand Adventure model to make the Chevrolet Luv Wagon and the Grand Luv, sold with little success.
- "Ending the "Chicken War": The Case for Abolishing the 25 Percent Truck Tariff". freetrade.org, by Daniel Ikenson.
- "GM Media Online Chevrolet Chile : Spanish". Media.gm.com. Retrieved on 2009-05-07.[dead link]
- "Chevrolet LUV, S-10 and Colorado". Edmunds.com. Retrieved on March 25, 2005.
- "1982 Fuel Economy Guide Data Files". www.epa.gov. Retrieved on May 26, 2006.
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