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Cipolla IKA la aventura ISBN-9875560065.jpg
Cipolla La Epopeya ISBN-9875560405.jpg

Industrias Kaiser Argentina S.A. or IKA was an Argentine motor company established in 1956 in Córdoba Province as a joint venture with Kaiser Motors of the United States. It produced a variety of Kaiser Jeep vehicles and American Motors (AMC) models, including Argentina's most iconic car, the Torino, before being partnering with France's Renault, which bought it out in 1970.

Contents

History

The government of Argentina sent an emissary to the United States in 1951 meet with auto manufacturers interested in building cars in Argentina. Kaiser was the only one to accept the offer The market was seen as too small to justify the investment, but Kaiser was interested and on January 19, 1955 the government signed an agreement to permit Kaiser to manufacture automobiles and trucks in Argentina. Kaiser created Kaiser Automotores, a wholly owned subsidiary as holding company that owned part of the newly created Industrias Kaiser Argentina, the manufacturing and marketing arm. Other partners in IKA included Industrias Aeronáutica y Mecánicas del Estado (IAME), the government-owned airplane and vehicle manufacturer, as well as private investors.

The first imports from the U.S. consisted of 1,021 complete cars, manufacturing equipment, and spare parts. Groundbreaking for the new factory in the city of Santa Isabel in Córdoba Province was held in March 1955 with the first Jeep vehicle driven out on April 27, 1956.

The initial production was of various Jeeps. Models included the CJ versions, as well as the Willys Jeep Truck or IKA Baqueano Pick-up, and the Willys Jeep Wagon or IKA Estanciera as well as a panel delivery version known as the IKA Utilitario. These utility vehicles were shortly followed by a local version of the Kaiser Manhattan 4-door sedan, called the Carabela, using the U.S. production equipment which had been transferred to IKA. This model was discontinued in 1962.

Near the end of the Carabela production, IKA also manufactured other automobiles. Alfa Romeo sold IKA the body molds for its discontinued Alfa Romeo 1900 sedan to become the IKA Bergantin. Local content made in Córdoba included a 2480 cc four-cylinder engine and the Jeep rear suspension and drum brakes that were also used in the Estanciera. Production started March 10, 1960 and ended on February 21, 1962 with nearly 5,000 units sold in three versions: Standard, Deluxe, and Taxi cab. Starting on May 31, 1961 the IKA Bergantin received the 115 hp (86 kW) Continental six-cylinder engine that was already used for the Estanciera and Carabela models. Only 353 units were made before production ended on February 22, 1962.

In 1959, the American-Argentine company become IKA Renault as a result of an agreement to produce the French firm's Renault cars. The small Renault Dauphine was produced and badged IKA Dauphine.

In 1962, another joint model venture agreement took place between IKA and American Motors Corporation (AMC). Various Rambler models licensed from American Motors Corporation (AMC) replaced all of the old Kaiser and Alfa Romeo based cars. The final form of the AMC variants was the potent Torino, which saw a lot of racing on international circuits.

By 1966 the Santa Isabel plant was producing a broad line of models that included

Four Renaults: Dauphine, Gordini, R4L y R4F
Six utility models: Jeep, Pick-up, Jeep Estanciera (also taxi version), Jeep truck, Jeep Gladiator (500, 1000 kilos) - in two and four wheel drive - and Charge
Four Rambler models: Classic Custom, Classic de Luxe, Classic cross-country (station wagon) and Ambassador 990
IKA Torino model (coupe and sedan)

In 1970 Kaiser Industries decided to exit the auto business and it sold the rest of its IKA holdings to its partner, Régie Nationale des Usines Renault of France, thus ending the history of Argentina's indigenous automaker. The new enterprise focused on mass consumption models such as the Renault 12. In 1975, the original factory in Santa Isabel changed from IKA to Renault Argentina S.A.

Cars built in the Santa Isabel factory

IKA Torino
Customized vintage 1960 4x4 IKA Estanciera

References

  • Cipolla, Franco H. (2003). IKA: la aventura (IKA: the adventure). Córdoba: Ediciones del Boulevard. ISBN 9-875560-06-5.   (in Spanish)
  • Cipolla, Franco H. (2004). La Epopeya De Kaiser-Renault, 1954-1975 (The Epic of Kaiser-Renault, 1954-1975). Córdoba: Ediciones del Boulevard. ISBN 9-875560-40-5.   (in Spanish)

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