General Motors confirms plans to re-enter the medium-duty truck market, a segment it last competed in six years ago, using an Isuzu-sourced vehicle the automaker will sell next year through its Chevrolet brand.

GM’s new low-cab-forward truck lineup will include six models – the Chevrolet 3500, 3500HD, 4500, 4500HD, 5500 and 5500 HD. The trucks are based on the Isuzu N-Series and will come in regular- and crew-cab body styles.

The Chevy trucks will be the only fleet and commercial medium-duty products other than those from Isuzu available with a gasoline engine, GM’s 6.0L V-8 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The gas-powered trucks will be assembled in Charlotte, MI.

Alternate engine choices include Isuzu 3.0L and 5.2L 4-cyl. turbodiesels.

“Bringing low-cab-forward trucks back to our portfolio strengthens Chevrolet’s commitment to providing commercial customers with more choices and provides customers with a versatile lineup of trucks, vans and crossovers,” Ed Peper, vice president-U.S. Fleet and Commercial Sales at GM, says in a statement. “This addition helps our dealers satisfy their commercial customers’ needs all in one place.”

The Detroit automaker axed its medium-duty business in 2009, saying it was globally uncompetitive to play in the Class 4-7 segments with the Isuzu-sourced Chevy TopKick and GMC Kodiak when its competitors offered much broader product portfolios.

The decision came after a deal to sell the business to International Truck and Engine, a subsidiary of Navistar International, fell apart and an alternate suitor could not be found.

In GM’s last year full year in the medium-duty segment in 2008, it sold 24,828 units for 15.1% of the segment, according to WardsAuto data. Last year, the segment accounted for 186,342 sales from seven competitors with Ford delivering a leading 62,376 units for a 33.5% share.

GM says the new trucks boast excellent visibility and maneuverability, especially in urban environments; easy ingress and egress; chassis lengths between 109 ins. (2,769 mm) and 212 ins. (5,385 mm); compatibility with a variety of body types, including refrigerated box, stake/flat bed and service bodies; and an easy-access engine compartment with 45-degree-tilting cab.

GM’s global collaborations with Fujisawa, Japan-based Isuzu date back 40 years. The automakers say this latest tie-up could open the door to additional work between the two in the commercial-vehicle space.

Last year, GM bolstered its position in the commercial-van market by sourcing a small cargo van for Chevrolet from Nissan, a product that competes with offerings from Ford and FCA US.

jamend@wardsauto.com