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UPDATE 1-Isuzu buys land for U.S. truck plant in Alabama

TOKYO, April 9 (Reuters) - Japan's Isuzu Motors Ltd 7202.T said on Monday it has bought land for a U.S. truck plant in Alabama, pushing ahead with plans to reestablish a production base in the world's biggest vehicle market.

The truck maker declined to provide details on plans for the factory but a source said the plant was scheduled to come on line around 2010 and initial annual production capacity would be several thousand units.

After years of restructuring, Isuzu is pinning its hopes on increasing truck sales in the United States, hoping to offset stagnating domestic demand.

It pulled out of a joint vehicle production venture with Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd 7270.T in 2002 which built sport utility vehicles.

Isuzu said in December it was looking at building a plant in North America, adding that a local factory would be appropriate when U.S. truck sales reached 50,000 units a year.

It is looking at building 2-3 tonne trucks, adding to Isuzu’s sole offering of 3.5 tonne N-series trucks in the United States, a source has said.

The truck maker sold some 28,000 units in the U.S. in 2006, most of which were exported. It subcontracts production of the gasoline version of the N-series to former top shareholder General Motors Corp. GM.N.

Isuzu spokesman Koitsu Mabuchi said the land cost $7.8 million.

Isuzu's shares were up 1.4 percent at 634 yen in Monday morning trade, in line with the benchmark Nikkei average .N225.

((Reporting by Edwina Gibbs and Noriyuki Hirata, editing by Malcolm Whittaker; Reuters messaging: edwina.gibbs.reuters.com@reuters.net; email edwina.gibbs.@reuters.com; +81 3 3432-8720)) Keywords: ISUZU US/

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