It’s all go for SsangYong, as the Koren car maker has a new importer to secure a future for the brand in the UK.
This comes after the whole company was snapped up in February by Indian car maker Mahindra and Mahindra, which plans to build on the range of models offered.
A new company, SsanggYong UK Ltd, led by previous UK MD Paul Williams, will take all staff and operations from the previous importer and run from bases in Luton and Fleet. They will now focus on introducing 2012 models to the market as well as making plans for further new product launches.
The UK range currently consists of the good looking Korando compact SUV (pictured) which starts from £17,000; the quite good looking Rexton 2 full size SUV, priced at £19,995; and the frankly hideous Rodius large MPV which is priced at… does it matter? You would never want to buy one.
The company is planning a number of new models to be shown at the Frankfurt motor show, including the SUT1, a 4×4 sport utility pick-up. Rumoured is an EV vehicle to join the range at a later date.
SsangYong has been present in the UK market since the 1980s although it has seen more than its fair share of challenges. Both Mercedes-Benz (whose engines can still be found in models) and Daewoo have had equity stakes in the company. MG-owner SAIC has been accused of stealing designs — a Roewe badged version of the Rexton can be found for sale in China. Now Mahindra and Mahindra have stewardship of the car maker, Korea’s fourth largest, they will no doubt be hoping they can make a success of the brand, unlike any one of the owners before them.
Mahindra and Mahindra has also marketed cars in the UK under its own badge, previously. Late last century an Indian made Jeep CJ3 knock-off was sold on these shores as the Mahinda Indian Brave (we kid you not!).