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Sometime in the not-too-distant future there could be a new Korean car brand showing up in North American auto malls.
Ssangyong is preparing to enter the North American market, but it will do so under a different name.
South Korea just got themselves a new pickup truck when SsangYong released their new Korando Sports to the market. Based off of their SUT 1 concept that debuted at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, SsangYong is calling the Korando Sports an LUV – Leisure Utility Vehicle.
What is interesting though is the fact that the parent company to SsangYong, Mahindra, is hoping to sell vehicles in the United States by 2016. This all after a blundered entrance by Mahindra into America’s market back in 2010. Regardless, Mahindra wants a truck in the US and we have good reason to believe that SsangYong’s Korando Sports will be the chosen one.
The Korando Sports is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine produced by SsangYong. It has 155-hp and 265 lb-ft of torque and allows the truck to have a towing capacity of 4,400-lbs. According to a mixed Korean cycle, the Korando Sports gets 36-mpg. It’ll be available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive options.
It’s widely believed that SsangYong will have this truck out in the European market by the end of this year. When it’ll make its way to America on the other hand, is the more interesting question.
GALLERY: SsangYong Korando Sports
[Source: 3D Car Posts]
While Hyundai and Kia are the best known Korean automakers, Ssangyong, still exists in the rest of the world, and the automaker (who has never sold vehicles in North America) has some very ambitious goals for the near future.
Ssangyong wants to sell 160,000 vehicles worldwide by 2013, and hopes to raise that number to 300,000 by 2016. Accompanying the sales targets will be a whole range of both facelifted and fully re-designed vehicles. Although Ssangyong released a series of goals that are little more than marketing fluff, the key to their progress seems to be leveraging their tie-up with Indian corporate whale Mahindra, which has the financial resources to help Ssangyong make something of itself.
Is America ready for another strange-sounding offshore nameplate? That answer seems irrelevant in light of Ssangyong’s new plans to introduce their vehicles in America by 2016, with a goal to be in the marketplace by 2013.
Ssangyong has a history of making fairly rugged SUVs that have been sold in global markets. While their previous generation of light trucks benefited from Mercedes-Benz’s engineering expertise, their most recent vehicles, including the Rodius minivan, were considered to be some of the ugliest cars of all time.
Parent company Mahindra hopes that Ssangyong can move 20,000 cars in the United States, but with Mahindra’s failed experiment at importing pickups into the United States still looming in the background, dealers who previously agreed to become Mahindra franchisees are on guard, with one telling Automotive News that he fears the Ssangyong plans may just be a trojan horse for the eventual importation of Mahindra trucks.
India’s Mahindra will buy troubled Korean carmaker Ssangyong for $463 million, with Mahindra gaining a 70% stake in the company. The deal is expected to conclude in March, 2011.
“Together with its financial capability, Mahindra offers competence in sourcing and marketing strategy while Ssangyong has strong capabilities in technology,” Mahindra President Pawan Goenka said in the statement. “We are committed to leveraging the combined synergies by investing in a new Ssangyong product portfolio to gain momentum in global markets.”
Ssangyong, a maker of SUVs, trucks and minivans, faced a sales crunch when those segments fell out of favor with consumers during the economic crisis. Ssangyong’s most recent products, namely the Rodius, have been pilloried in the press for their bizarre designs, which some have labeled as the world’s ugliest cars.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
India’s Mahindra has nearly completed a purchase of Korean carmaker circus freakshow Ssangyong, maker of the world’s ugliest vehicles.
“We give the takeover candidate (Mahindra and Mahindra) an exclusive right for negotiation, and won’t be involved in any takeover-related activities with a third party,” Ssangyong said in a statement. Financial terms were not announced but some analysts value the deal at roughly $420 million.
Ssangyong, which makes the Rodius minivan and Actyon crossover, was slated to be resurrected by Chinese carmaker SAIC, until the recession caused them to abandon plans for Ssangyong.