By on August 4, 2009

The Ssangyong Riot is not a new South Korean compact car. 500 fired workers and 33,000 liters of flammable fluids are creating an explosive mix in a Ssangyong factory in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. The factory was raided by police commandos today, although the paint shop (a.k.a. structure fire waiting to happen) has not yet been stormed. “Creditors agreed that it is better to liquidate assets of Ssangyong before the company’s asset value falls further,” head of SSsangyong’s creditor suppliers Choi Byeong-whoon tells the WSJ. Union spokesfolk acknowledge that a raid on the paint shop is coming, saying “we will respond to it, bracing ourselves for death.” Death before Rodius production. How fitting.

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17 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Modern Liquidation Edition...”


  • avatar
    commando1

    It’s been downhill ever since they changed their name to Dong-A Motor in 1977…

  • avatar
    menno

    It’s a very sad state of affairs, for everyone concerned. Sympathy in advance to the widows of the workers who simply were too foolish to realize that “we got no money” and “we’re bankrupt” means some job losses while the company reorganized and tried to survive.

    Ssangyong won’t survive, now. But that is nothing in comparison to the loss of life which is going to happen/already has happened.

    This company had been bought by Daewoo when Daewoo was independent / before the Asian financial crisis of 1999 which took Daewoo down a few pegs.

    The Chairman cars (based upon the bones of the old E-class Mercedes and inline six) and the Rexton SUV (same engine or Mercedes based diesels) have been reasonably popular in many countries where they were sold, considering their limited market potential.

    The Rodius was obviously styled by someone who was enamored with the Pontiac Aztek!!! Ouch.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Ya know, S. Korea has pretty good unemployment numbers. Rather than die in a paint fire, the workers might be better off just getting another damn job.

    I really do not get the mindset that people own their jobs and they should be able to do them regardless of whether they are generating a net gain for society or not.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    toxicroach: “I really do not get the mindset that people own their jobs…”

    Workers make quite an investment in their jobs, so some feeling of ownership is natural. It’s just not a financial investment of the traditional type.

  • avatar
    menno

    Yeah, but what job is worth dying for, KixStart?

    Already one of the wives of one of the management offed herself due to stress.

    Not

    Worth

    Dying

    For

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    The Ssangyong Riot sounds like a great car.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    KixStart:

    The people that make the most investment in their jobs, like doctors, lawyers, MBAs, engineers and scientists have no union representation and the least job stability (unless government employed).

    Factory workers do not invest in their jobs. They may get paid training, but since that training costs the employee nothing it is an investment by the company, not the employee.

    toxicroach:

    I think most redundant workers like these think that they are actually valuable to society in their current positions, and that everyone else is wrong. I wish they were honest enough with themselves to realize that, in their current positions, they are just parasites on society.

  • avatar
    midelectric

    Taking a look at the breaking news headlines, since he’s in the neighborhood maybe Bill Clinton should stop by and smooth this thing over.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    I get not wanting to get laid off obviously.

    I don’t get raiding a factory and starting a chemical fire to fend off the police commandos.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    “Creditors agreed that it is better to liquidate assets of Ssangyong before the company’s asset value falls further,” head of SSsangyong’s creditor suppliers Choi Byeong-whoon tells the WSJ.

    You mean like the torching of those assets?

  • avatar
    50merc

    There was a great old bumper sticker, “Support Mental Health Or I’ll Kill You”.

    It seems in South Korea that’s been replaced by “Preserve my job or I’ll kill myself”.

    Say, wasn’t there a bunch of workers in France that were threatening to torch their factory if it closed down? I’d call that the ultimate Pyrrhic victory.

    Seriously, these folks need treatment. Losing a job shouldn’t be a death sentence.

  • avatar
    niky

    Ouch. Told my dear old Dad that buying that Stavic wasn’t a good idea…

    And just when it seemed Ssangyong could avoid further trouble… seeing as how they were bailed out…

    It’s a shame. Ssangyong cars aren’t very good, but with Mercedes underpinnings, they’re not extremely terrible… though the styling of their best cars, the Rexton and Kyron, leaves a lot to be desired.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    I wish they were honest enough with themselves to realize that, in their current positions, they are just parasites on society.

    -
    Seriously, these folks need treatment.

    Of course it seems unusual in a society where employees are indoctrinated to be used to taking it up the rear and never stand up to real authority.

    A job if anything is just as important as the litany of often imaginary freedoms that so many americans like to think they’ll defend to the end.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    Ahh SsangYong. One of five companies that a car finance company in Australia REFUSES to finance. That list also includes any Dodge, Kia, and a copule of specific models of cars.

    SsangYong, built on older Mercedes licenced technology (engines and drivetrains), everything else was copied from Mercedes or indigenous Korean design elements. These things even made Kia’s look like well engineered ergonomic delights.

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    Back in the boom boom economy days it became de riguer for every Korean Chaebol to start its own car company. The Chaebol are a few huge Korean conglomerates that have hundreds of fingers in
    hundreds of pies.

    Hyundai builds ships as well as cars. Daweoo builds refrigerators (I have one in my office)….

    The Korean car industry was/is way overbuilt. Too many players, most of whom didn’t have export channels even before the Chinese competition got rolling. A shakeout was inevitable.

    For the workers – it’s hard to leave a job that’s paying, even if you know the company is wobbly – you think about going and looking for a job, but you never do until the pay check actually stops. Then you have hundreds of your coworkers as competitors for each vacancy.

  • avatar
    njdave

    agenthex,
    A job may be just as important, but believing that you are ENTITLED to keep yours is delusional. And I say that as someone who was laid off for a year not so long ago. My company was losing money hand over fist, and they had to cut costs so I and many others got whacked. Of course I was upset and angry, but life goes on. I lived off my savings, made sure my skills were kept very up to date, kept in touch with contacts and waited for the post 9-11 hiring freezes to end. I got another job. To sue or threaten a company that had to lay me off because they were in dire financial straits due to a disaster like 9-11 makes absolutely no sense. Also, getting yourself labeled as a hostile employee virtually guarantees that you will not be hired again soon. Surely you are not suggesting that companies should not be allowed to lay people off until their staffing level matches their business level? Then you would end up like France, where it is extremely difficult to lay someone off so companies are extremely reluctant to hire any new staff. They are even less likely to hire someone who is young, since they have so many working years ahead of them. The result is unemployment among 20 to 30 year olds that is 3 times the average.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    A job may be just as important, but believing that you are ENTITLED to keep yours is delusional.

    This rather assumes commercial interests are first and foremost. I’m not saying they are correct, but at least they’re fighting for something that has a concrete connection to their (and fellow employee’s) livelihoods.

    In any case, it’s not clear whether or not they’re willing to settle for a nicer package which would again be conflicting with the interests of other commercial interests (creditors in this case).


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