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Isuzu Announces Title Sponsorship of Ironman Triathlon Series.

CERRITOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 24, 1999--

American Isuzu Motors Inc. has announced that it has come to an agreement with the World Triathlon Corporation to expand its involvement with the Ironman Triathlon World Championship and the Ironman series of events through the year 2002.

The multi-faceted, multi-year agreement has Isuzu serving as the Presenting Sponsor of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship event held each year in Kona, Hawaii. In addition, Isuzu will also be the Title Sponsor of three U.S. qualifying events each year.

"Isuzu's corporate philosophy is `Go farther,'" said Bob Reilly, senior vice president, COO, SUV.

"We launched our `Life is too big for cars' campaign to demonstrate that we are truck specialists. Likewise, our sponsorship of the Ironman Triathlon events are the perfect match because we think it represents the strength, durability and performance of our vehicles as well as the personal attitude of the people who purchase and drive them. This race truly illustrates the character and qualities we strive to put into everything we do," concluded Reilly.

"We're excited our involvement will carry into the next millennium."

As the best-recognized world championship triathlon in the world, the Ironman Triathlon series boasts a total race distance of an amazing 140.6 miles. The race is composed of a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike race, and a 26.2-mile marathon. More than 50,000 people sign up for the qualifying events held throughout the world, with some 50 countries as well as all 50 states represented. The average Ironman triathlete spends 18 to 24 hours each week training for the event.

Typically, the week would include seven miles of swimming, 225 miles of biking and 48 miles of running. Considered the most important multi-sport event in the world, the Kona championship event boasts a total purse of $250,000, with the top female and male finishers taking home $35,000 each.

Building on last year's participation as the Official Vehicle Sponsor, the new sponsorship agreement will have Isuzu's participation kicking off with the Isuzu Ironman USA Lake Placid qualifying event Aug. 15, 1999. Isuzu Ironman Florida is scheduled to take place Nov. 6, 1999, and a third event to be announced.

Isuzu will present a strong presence throughout the events via on-site signage, vehicle displays at each location, athlete-targeted advertising, and the Isuzu company logo on all event-related collateral materials and event merchandise.

NBC's coverage of last year's Championship in Kona, Hawaii, drew an estimated 50 million television viewers. This year's event is expected to draw even more viewers. The 1999 Championship broadcast will be tagged "Ironman Triathlon Presented by Isuzu" and will air Nov. 14 on NBC, with a re-airing to be broadcast during the spring or summer.

The television package also includes four ESPN showings of the Ironman qualifying events. The ESPN broadcast dates are still undetermined but will also include re-airings of the events.

To commemorate sponsorship of these prestigious events, Isuzu will bring to market an expanded lineup of special Ironman Edition sport-utility vehicles. Isuzu launched an Ironman edition VehiCROSS as part of last year's Official Vehicle Sponsorship, and this year's expanded sponsorship will add Ironman editions of both the Rodeo and Amigo sport-utility vehicles.

An Ironman VehiCROSS will serve as the lead vehicle for the event, with various Ironman vehicles serving throughout the event.

In addition, Isuzu will provide a number of Isuzu vehicles as awards to the top finishing participants. An Isuzu VehiCROSS will once again serve as the "Go farther" award for the athlete selected as most representing the "Go Farther" spirit. The top male and female athletes will also receive an Isuzu vehicle for one year.

American Isuzu Motors Inc. is the U.S. distributor of Isuzu light vehicles, commercial vehicles and diesel engines. For more information call 800/785-5445 or contact www.isuzu.com on the World Wide Web.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 25, 1999
Words:645
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