By on February 14, 2014

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Ssangyong has had a colorful history, to put it lightly. In 1999, the Korean brand entered bankruptcy as its Chinese majority owner, SAIC Motor Company cut Ssangyong loose. Ssangyong made a frenzied attempt to cut its workforce down, and faced one of the worst labor strikes in the Korean auto industry’s history. In retaliation for the cuts, the workers of Ssangyong’s Pyongtaek production plant set fire to the plant, and later occupied it for two months. Riot police, including helicopter support, was called in eventually to clear the plant.

With Ssangyong in shambles, Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra bought a 70% stake in the company in 2011 and immediately went to work on labor issues. Since the acquisition, Ssangyong has not suffered any labor downtime and the once rioting workforce now appears to be diligently rebuilding the auto maker, one car at a time.

In 2013, Ssangyong returned and racked up its highest sales, with 145,649 cars sold last year. 81,679 of those sales were made in overseas markets; and a spokesman for Ssangyong confirmed to WardsAuto that the Korean Automaker is looking to expand its product to the U.S. market.

ssangyong-korando-c-ceo-lee-yoo-il
The spokesman confirmed to Wards that a portfolio for North America is being planned with a consultant to help find an approach to the U.S., with the key being a friendly brand name. Aside from the odd-sounding name (to American eyes and ears, at least), Ssangyong looks to leave behind the battle torn image of the past,  and exude a quality product.

Ssangyong’s President and CEO Yoo-il Lee has set high goals for 2016, and the U.S. market is a must if they intend to meet them, with a target of 300,000 vehicles by 2016.

But that’s about where the announced plan stops. As mentioned, with last year’s sales hovering  just below 150,000, the “Promise 2016″ plan intends to double that in a scant two years. With no product ready for U.S. emissions and safety and no dealer network, it’s a lofty goal. US dealers are still wary after Mahindra’s ongoing failure to bring their diesel pick to the US by 2010, and we’ll be impressed if Ssangyong can enter the U.S. market by their 2016 sales goal.

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75 Comments on “Korean Carmaker Ssangyong Looks At US Market During A Dramatic Rebirth...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Honestly there are already too many brands as it is, I don’t see unknown brands entering and being successful at this point in time.

    Also typo: “target of 300,00″

    • 0 avatar
      2kriss2kross

      The US is one of (if not) the least diverse auto markets in the world. That said, I agree Ssangyong’s chances of surviving in the US market are pretty bleak. You have more “established” brands like Volvo and Mitsubishi on life support and Suzuki who dropped out. What does Ssangyong have the they do not? Their vehicles look a bit subpar compared to Mitsubishi and Suzuki. Ssangyong has a bit more work to do. If not, the only way I see Ssangyong making it is if they were really cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree most of the volume sellers here are nearly the same, its fifty shades of gray. Even if Ssangyong came in with the fifty first you’ve already got Mitsubishi and others competing in the no frills cheapie arena, tough for a new brand to come in and compete with more established marques.

        • 0 avatar
          Jacob

          The same could be said about Hyundai 25 years ago, with most of their cars regarded as cheap copies of Mitsubishi cars.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          As well, Ssangyong has a history in Korea of making some of the UGLIEST designs, ever.

          I show you.

          http://www.boldride.com/ride/2004/ssangyong-rodius#gallery/2

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2d/SsangYong_Rexton_Heck.JPG

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/78/SsangYong_Korando_front_20080711.jpg

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/20120120_ssangyong_korando_sports_02.jpg

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SsangYong_Musso.JPG

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/SsangYong_Actyon_front_20080303.jpg

          And they’ve got a history of using old MB platforms:

          http://forums.genvibe.com/files/imported/190134%3D6725-SsangyongChairman3.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @2kriss2kross

        That really struck me, traveling across the US the lack of diversity compared to Australia.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Hey, the F150 has three different cabs AND three different beds. That’s all we need in ‘Merica.

          • 0 avatar
            Phillip Thomas

            That sums it up, perfect.

          • 0 avatar
            CRConrad

            Can you combine any of each freely, from short-short to long-long? And are the steps in length the same or different from short to medium, and from medium to long? And between cab and bed?

            Just speculating, how many variations in overall length you get, over all. If the steps in length are the same S/M/L and C/B, then you’d get only, uh, les’see… Oh, still five different lengths. Wouldn’t simplify things at all as much as one might have thought.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            My dad always has a hard time finding a new (used) truck, because he wants 4×4, regular cab, long bed (as to fit a large toolbox).

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @Robert Ryan – Yes OZ has more choices in cars and trucks, but Aussie consumers barely buy those brands on the fringes of that automotive diversity.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Kind of reminds me of Daewoo at the onset, no dealers, not well organized and we all know how that turned out, except now there is no US company that will buy them out, GM and Ford learned their lesson.

    • 0 avatar
      car follower

      The key to Ssangyong is to line up dealers. They should forget trying to line up existing Suzuki,Mitsubishi and Volvo dealers. Mahindra has deep pockets and would have to sell two models like the Camry size and Corolla size at prices at least 15% cheaper. They would have to do this for 10 years. They should get to know dealers like Mike Jackson and Roger Penske and give them each an opportunity to set up a 100 dealerships. Once they get two dealers on board like these guys they will be in business.
      Also a good compact pick up truck a shade smaller than a Tacoma would give them a leg up….the Tacoma has gotten too big. The truck market needs one that is the same size as the discontinued Ford Ranger.

  • avatar
    Atum

    I’m at Ssangyong’s website looking at the models, and they don’t seem ready for America. The interior quality and overall appearance looks as if they need to do some work.

    Also, their steering wheel design with four large controls on each side, decreasing in size from top to bottom. Eh…

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      You might check out the Ssangyong UK site. But the brand’s vehicles look very much like those of Hyundai and Kia ten years ago…value-oriented, but not subpar or bad. The problem is that Kia and Hyundai have made sure that even value-oriented cars like the Rio and Accent come with decent styling. So unless the brand is willing to work on its designs and make them more exciting, I don’t know that this would be a successful venture.

      • 0 avatar
        Atum

        The 2005 Sportage/Tucson was Kia/Hyundai’s first “really good” vehicle, but they didn’t become popular until 2011, with the release of the stylish new Sorento, Sonata, etc. I was sensing a lot of mid-2000′s Hyundai in the interior design; I just didn’t bring that up, as I didn’t know whether or not the two companies (Hyundai/Kia and Ssangyong) were related.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Well, actually I’d say the first “good” car was the 2003 Kia Sorento—a car that we had up until 2009, in 4WD EX form—but that was still in a phase during which Kia and Hyundai vehicles were very derivative in terms of styling. The Sorento in question looked very much like the first-generation Lexus RX, which was to be replaced that next year. Things got better when they added in the 3.8-liter motor. In that whole mid-aughts design era, two cars that I would consider to be at least on par with everyone else’s designs were the 2006-2010 Sonata (especially after the 2009 refresh) and the 2007-2012 Santa Fe.

          But even the 2010 Sorento that you mentioned was conceived in Hyundai/Kia’s awkward design phase (along with the first Forte and the short-lived Borrego) and—despite the Sorento’s 2014 refresh—this is still very evident. Things got good for Hyundai/Kia in MY2009, when they released the Genesis sedan, their first true luxury car, and a RWD one at that. The 2010 Tucson, and Genesis Coupe were extremely significant in terms of advancing the company’s reputation, due to being the first uses of the “Fluidic Sculpture” school of design. Technically, the Soul was also conceived in at the end of the awkward design era, mostly because of its interior, but it got a bit better when they changed the exterior door handles out. And of course we all know about the 2011 Sonata (we have a 2012 Sonata Limited) and Optima, and the other cars that followed.

          As far as whether the two companies are related, the design language would suggest so, but I haven’t found any evidence of it. I know that Ssangyong has had technology and structure tie-ins with Daimler-Benz, and alliances with Daewoo (even during the GM era), but I don’t think Ssangyong ever had anything to do with Hyundai/Kia.

          EDIT: On second thought, I remember watching a season of “Wheeler Dealers”—a UK-based car-flipping show—in which the host drove a Ssangyong Kyron. It appears to have the same square door handles as the first-gen Kia Sorento that I mentioned…so there’s that.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            The first generation Sorento is a pretty underappreciated/underrated SUV. Exceptional value for the amount of truck you get: Body on frame, solid rear axle, real part time transfercase with high and low range. Lots of interior goodies all at a reasonable price. And you could even get them in a stick shift +4wd! The last few years are the best, with the 3.8L becoming available like you said (but not with the stick).

      • 0 avatar
        CRConrad

        [Edit 2:] OK, never mind, GIMF.

        http://www.ssangyonggb.co.uk/
        http://www.ssangyong.com.au/

        .

        [Original post:]
        What Ssangyong UK site?

        http://ssangyong.co.uk/ : “Domain names for less with UK2. Claim your Web identity.”

        .

        [Edit:] Also, http://www.ssangyong.co.kr led to http://www.ssangyongcement.co.kr . (And http://www.ssangyong.com was a blank page, which was why I tried .co.uk in the first place.)

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Atum
      A guy I know does have one of those Ssyangyong dual cab utes. The quality is acutally better than my mother’s US built 2012 Focus.

      The utes are about as pretty and to me have some of the design ques of a Ram pickup.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    I looked at their line-up in ’06 in PI. They had a boatload of ugly on the showroom floor. One SUV that took inspiration from a yacht was off the hook bad.

  • avatar
    readallover

    Have they crash tested any for U.S. standards yet?

  • avatar
    daniel g.

    Hi,in their official webpage their lineup is SUV(in varius sizes) a luxury car with V8 by mercedes benz, a caravan/kia carnival similar look (maybe 1 o 2 gen past) and the pick up, not so bad for the american market, product for the best selling segment, no cars and no sports cars ok.
    question: tesla/fisker can make a complete new car en 2-3 year of stilyng/development, why they can´t improve the quality?

    they sales in european market so the crash tests and other security stuff is approved no?

  • avatar

    Because Mahindra’s own entry into the US market went so well.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The little midsize Ssyanyong diesel is getting about 40mpg on the highway and it can tow about 5 500lbs.

    I would think the 4×4 twin cab Ssyangyong pickup with all the bells and whistles including leather would sell for well under $30 000 in the US.

    We can wheel and deal and get one here in Australia for $33 000AUD.

    It’s a little different to look at. Probably on par with a Ram in aesthetic value.

    But without a FTA the chicken tax will add a 25%. To bad.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Last time around, the Ssangyong Musso sold a few here in Oz because it used a Mercedes Benz engine so it was the cheapest way to get a “sort of” cheap Mercedes SUV. Local MB dealers were constantly out of stock of rocker covers as Musso drivers replaced theirs to get one with the three pointed star.
    P.S. Musso means Rhino which would have been a much better model name.

  • avatar
    Carl Kolchak

    I see very little chance of them getting off the ground here because of the Mahindra Fiasco. The only people I see plunking money down for a dealer would be those who had a good experience selling Mahindra Tractors. I know they burned a lot dealers , so the Ssangyong may be ” radioactive because their parent company.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Carl Kolchak
      There’s a significant difference between a Ssyanyong and a Mahindra.

      It’s chalk and cheese.

      Ssyanyong are gradually cleaning up their vehicles. They are much better now both visually and technically than they were even 5 years ago.

      I do think the next generation of Ssyangyong will almost be on par with the rest of the Korean vehicles.

      Ssyangyong would be on par with the average US manufactured vehicle for build quality.

      • 0 avatar
        Carl Kolchak

        Al,

        Sorry for any misunderstanding. I have no idea if Mahindra trucks are any good, because I have never seen one. In the US, Mahindra was supposed to be importing their Diesel pickups. I would read articles that they were still coming but the vehicles never reached our shores.
        I see starting a dealer network as a real hurdle. Why would a dealer put out money for a franchise of a new vehicle line, when it’s owners failed to launch another brand in the the not too distant past? The trucks were supposed to be here in 2009 and in fact the distributor is suing Mahindra.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Carl Kolchak
          Mahindra?

          Like I stated comparing a Mahindra to a Ssyangyong is like comparing a M Series to a $16k Corolla.

          It’s chalk and cheese.

          • 0 avatar
            CRConrad

            And like he stated, he wasn’t talking about the cars, but the dealer network.

            What’s chalk and cheese here seems to be you and keeping on topic.

  • avatar
    gogogodzilla

    Having lived in South Korea for 6 years, I learned that even Koreans find Ssangyong cars to be some of the least desirable in their market. Even GM-Daewoo cars were considered to have better quality, refinement, and styling.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      It’s the same in Australia.

      Ssyangyong, to their credit are trying to improve, especially over the past couple of years. The Stavic is one butt fugly vehicle.

      But even GM/Daewoo in Australia aren’t considered in the same light as a Kia/Hyundai.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    Sweet!

    That means I can get the Rodius I so always wanted!

    Said no one ever.

  • avatar
    Helmut Spargel

    There’s this car that’s been on my mind
    All the time, Ssangyong oh oh

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    http://www.smotor.com/en/SHOWROOM/chairman_w/index.html

    7 forward and 2 reverse gears? Why do you need 2 reverse gears? Easier to have your chauffeur execute certain defensive driving moves?

    But hey look the 6 cyl versions are inline 6 :)

    Somehow this car seems more of a flagship than the Cadillac XTS but then a Equis is a better Cadillac than the XTS.

  • avatar
    RHD

    The “Mahindra Fiasco”! They could call their first model that.
    Sounds like Ssangyong’s cars are still the Not Ready for Prime Time Players.
    (Maybe we could have a chance to test drive the next generation Perodua Kalisa??!!)

  • avatar
    romismak

    I think they missed their chance, before crisis US market was biggest in their history, with booming SUV sales, cheap oil and Asian brands gaining market share from US brands, right now you have many brands and competitive cars from major automakers in US market. No brand recognintion, no dealrship network and exports from Korea right now with strong won wouldn´t be as good as few years ago, they have good cars-SUV´s but market is full already

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    Knowing the ignorance of most people in my arra, they would not go anywhere near a vehicle named a ssangyong unless it was rock bottom dirt cheap.and still, there would be extreme apprehension regarding quality, locating parts, reliability and such. I’m from a very right wing part of the middle of nowhere, where tractors outnumber cars though.the only new cars I see here are chevy products, malibu, impala, and lots and lots of trucks.there are a lot of 90s early 2000 beaters but the vast majority are domestic brands with some old Toyotas and a small amount of Hondas thrown in.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    There is a market for a true compact truck with a diesel option. They could bring over kits and assemble them in the US to get around the Chicken Tax. Something on the line of a late 80′s early 90′s Toyota or Nissan compact truck with not too many extra options to keep the price down. They could do this as well with a midsize over cab delivery truck and a compact SUV. They should stay away from compact or midsize cars because the competition in those fields is too great.

    As for dealers they should share space with existing dealerships and not go it alone. Start out small and get their foot into the market. They do need to get their service and parts distribution right and they would be better off using an existing drivetrain that has been proven. Parts need to be accessible and not too pricey.

  • avatar
    bfisch81

    They should probably ditch the corporate name and come up with something more saleable for their cars. Maybe resurrect a defunct old American brand?

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I currently Iive in Korea and unless you’re driving a Ssangyong Chairman W, which is a lot better looking than the Equus and Kia K9, there’s no reason to buy a Ssangyong unless you specifically want a Korean market pickup, and of course an Actyon Sports is your only option. The rest of the lineup is mediocre at best. I do like the Korando though.

    Ssangyong has no chance in the US market, especially with the market being as saturated as it is today. Nothing they sell can actually compete with anything currently on sale in the US market. In Korea, it’s Hyundai, Kia, Renault/Samsung, GM/Daewoo…..then Ssangyong. Unless we’re talking luxury, that’s where Ssangyong is king because a Ssangyong Chairman is the ultimate status symbol here. Chairman W, not the Chairman H.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I doubt they could get a foothold in the US market leading off with a luxury, er, premium car. Their best bet is to introduce a gas sipper with distinctive styling, beginning with the California market. If it’s unusual, economical and low priced enough, Californians will buy it. That was the Honda model with the 600. A journey of a thousand miles begins with sweetheart deals with a few independent California dealers.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    How about just shortening the name to Yong. Everyone can spell and pronounce Yong. Small trucks and compact suvs affordable priced with a diesel option.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    What does LL Cool J video have to do with this product? During the video there was never a mention or even a picture of a Ssangyong.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Jeff S – ♫Don’t Call It A Comeback!♫

      Yes there’s a market for small, compact diesel trucks. Right next to the compact diesel station wagon with the manual trans.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @DM–They stand more of a chance with a small suv and compact diesel pickup than another 4 door econobox sedan in a crowded field of such. I looked on their website and they have a fairly decent crewcab compact pickup and suvs. Ssangyong would be better to team up with existing dealerships than a stand alone dealership. Service and parts will be critical and being able to withstand short term losses and lower volume just to get established. Ssangyong uses a Mercedes V-8 on their larger vehicles. Price will be a critical factor as well because if they are not cheaper than the current competition then they will not be able to compete.

    Denver Mike before you become an expert on Ssangyong you need to at least go on their website and see their existing product line. I realize you are not a fan of any smaller trucks but their crewcab pickup and their line of crossovers are not that bad. They have a nice full size car called the Chairman that looks like a Mercedes but then that would be harder to sell in a field that has Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Nissan, Chrysler, and others. Not as many smaller trucks in the market to compete with than sedans. It is questionable if they can compete but that would be the best avenue is to carve out a niche. And no a manual brown station wagon would not sell in a market where the name “station wagon” has become taboo. Don’t you know that the crossover is today’s station wagon? Get real.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Jeff S – Just because there’s only a handful of players in the smaller SUV and truck markets, doesn’t mean they’re not just as overcrowded as the 4-door econobox market. Would it also mean there’s potential in the compact roadster market because there’s just 2 or 3 players?

      But who says I’m not a fan of smaller trucks? I’m trying to talk my friend into a Nissan Hard Body, and he’s leaning towards ’60s to ’80s full-size trucks. I found him a good running ’87 Hard Body for $1,000 which are impossible to find at that price. I had an ’89 NHB and loved it. The one I found for him this weekend is clean and runs great. Reason it’s so cheap is it has front hydraulics and the seller doesn’t have time to bring to stock torsions. Easily a $2,500 truck. The truck he found was a ’64 3/4 ton Chevy with no bed, missing master cylinder, missing windows, etc, for $600. We’re waiting for DMV research on Tuesday to see which one I’ll lend him the cash for (knuckle head, divorced, starting over).

      I’ve owned just as many small/compact trucks as full-size. Except my full-size trucks I bought new.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Jeff S
      Ssyangyong have utilised much engineering from Mercedes Benz, especially in their drivetrains.

      Ssyangyong also manufacture Mercedes Benz commerical vehicles. So, as usual what DiM is stating is quite baseless as he doesn’t have much knowledge behind the one horse life style he leads. As you can see they do have the capacity to manufacture quality products.

      The Ssyangyong ute isn’t quite up to par with the Japanese pickups we have, but the gap isn’t that big. They would be on par with a US manufactured pickup overall. They are not in the same league as the Mahindra, as the Mahindra is quite agricultural.

      In Australia the twin cab diesel is getting around 40mpg and can tow about 5 500lbs on the highway. This is quite good even by our diesel ute standards for a midsizer.

      The little 2 litre diesel isn’t that bad and puts out about 300ftlb of torque. But having Mercedes Benz is an advantage with diesel. German Euro diesel technology is quite good.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @DM–People that buy older full size pickups will probably not buy a new truck anyway. There are no guarantees that a manufacturer will succeed in the market place, but a smaller pickup priced lower than the competition stands a much better chance than another 4 door subcompact and compact car in a field that is very crowded. You are again changing the subject by comparing apples and oranges. Again you don’t even bother to look at Ssangyong’s website and go directly to your agenda. The chances of success are not that great but you don’t compete directly with the major players with another 4 door sedan. Those who will buy the Ssangyong pickup are not those who are going to use them for heavy hauling or towing nor are they buying them to prove something (like their manhood). The suburbanite who needs a vehicle for weekend projects but wants enough room for family would be who would buy this. Those who want the biggest truck with the highest horsepower V-8 will not buy this. Ssangyong could not compete with another large V-8 half ton truck because of the extreme brand loyalty among Ford, GM, and Ram truck customers which even Toyota and Nissan are having a hard time competing with the Tundra and Titan. I don’t see this truck competing with Ford, GM, or Chrysler. I understand that you like big high horse powered V-8 pickups which is your choice, but not everyone wants that.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Jeff S – Ssangyong would be entering the market at dramatic cut-rate pricing. That’s cars, SUVs and maybe pickups. FWD cars and SUVs can be stamped out cheaply, almost like printing them out. And they’d be targeting an American market of millions of consumers at the ready. And they’d absorb some of the used car market.

      BOF pickups are a little harder to turn a profit on. More models. More options. More packages. More axle ratios. Every body/bed configuration takes a different frame. Every trans takes different frame. Engine choices? Same thing. 2 or 4wd? They each take a different frame too.

      With 4-door econoboxes, Ssangyong at least has a dismal chance. Without huge backing, like Hyundai’s heavy equipment manufacturing, or Kia Hyundia’s backing, it’d be a tough road ahead for Ssangyong indeed.

      Half tons with V8s are just a better match. Not necessarily big V8s with high horse power. Just a normal, smaller V8 is perfect. When heavy work is a priority, you just index a more aggressive ring and pinion. If you want economy, you scale back. It’s not just power that’s a V8s selling points. Too many to list.

      Ridgline buyers aren’t looking to do heavy work if any, so yeah, not everything is heavy lifting. Clearly that’s not why people them, in small numbers. So obviously fwd (w/awd, single range) unibody pickups aren’t much in demand either.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Ssangyong already has a crewcab pickup and a full line of crossovers so this is not a big deal. A small 4 door compact car would compete with the Nissan Versa, Chevy Spark, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Mitsubishi Mirage,and many others who would either match them in price or be very close. The pickup Ssangyong has would compete with Tacoma, Frontier, the soon to be Colorado/Canyon, and the Ridgeline which is the most expensive of the group but the Ssangyong pickup has one advantage in that it has a diesel.

    If you read Big Al’s comments above you can get a diesel 4×4 crewcab with heated leather seats below 30k which is not a barebone truck but it is about 10k cheaper than a Ridgeline and Tacoma similarly equipped except they do not have a diesel. The diesel gets about 40 mpgs. Yes the fleet buyers will not buy it but this would make a perfect 2nd vehicle for most suburbanites. The market for regular cab strippers is not that big. This truck would not sell in the numbers of an F-150 or maybe even a Tacoma but it would definitely outsell a Ridgeline and it has much more capacity than a Ridgeline. The truck already exists as a 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive crewcab with a gas or diesel option and does not have all the bed and body configurations that other trucks have, just bring it over in kits and it could be assembled anywhere. Anyway I don’t want to debate with you anymore and the odds of Ssangyong entering the NA market and succeeding are not that great.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Jeff S
      DiM seems to have difficulty understand the vehicle market. It appears even an MX-5 would be a competitor to a full size pickup.

      I bet he even thinks a MX-5 is a Ferrari competitor.

      If anything these midsizers might be a bigger challenge for the midsize CUV/SUV and some full size SUVs.

      The only full size customers they will grab would be the ones who bought a full size that wanted a smaller pickup. The two midsizers, Frontier and Tacoma don’t really give justice for the midsize market in the US.

      Competition is needed.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Jeff S – If there’s really no real market for regular cab midsizers, you ‘d better tell that to the millions everywhere on American roads. And you talk about having more consumer choices, let’s take away the regular cabs… The backbone of the segment. And the smallest in the class. OEMs want to force an even bigger, smallest of the small (aka extra cab). That should liven up the market… Yep

      I thought you and the others wanted smaller midsizers? Why aren’t you P!$$ED the reg cabs are going bye-bye???

      But $40K is a bit of a gross exaggeration, even for a loaded Tacoma or Frontier. And a diesel Jetta barely reaches 40 mpg on a good downhill slope. Try a much heavier mid-size truck, even an extra cab, with a bigger diesel, geared for pulling, comparably horrible aerodynamics and high resistance tires… You’re lucky to see 25 mpg on a good downhill with a backwind. Or a 21 mpg average like the Mahindra. You live a diesel mpg dream world. There’s a reason small trucks get horrible mpg on unleaded regular. It’s the same reason diesel midsizers suck up the diesel too..

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Big Al–I googled the Ssangyong website and looked at all their vehicles. Their truck has a lot of features for the money and I myself would be interested in it. I do think many who would not normally buy a this as a family vehicle especially with an open bed they could go to Home Depot or the garden center. Also those who are older and/or retired might want to still have a truck but no longer want a full size truck. Even my handyman who has a 2004 F-250 Powerstroke crewcab said for 30k he would buy one if it was a diesel. Denver Mike is stuck in the past in a USA where it is isolated from the World and where nothing ever changes. Many suburbanites want a vehicle that is not too big but more versatile. Even many of the guys on PUTC said they would buy a diesel midsize pickup. My question to DM is why is Nissan, Toyota, and GM considering a diesel in a midsize pickup if there is no market for it?

    Ssangyong also has a very nice lineup of SUVs which with a diesel option could be very competitive. I think Ssangyong best option is to partner up with existing dealerships and not go it alone.

    I looked at a 4×4 crewcab Tacoma with a short bed and cloth seats at the Cincinnati Auto Show for 38k. There were Honda Ridgelines as well that were going for 36k to 40k so yes a midsize crewcab Tacoma, Ridgeline, and Frontier go for about 40k comparably equipped to the Ssangyong pickup. As for the regular cab midsize truck it is never good to see an option disappear but as long as an extended cab is offered then most will not miss it. I went to an extended cab in 1999 and I will never go back to a regular cab.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Jeff S – It depends on how you define “market” or “no market”. Or how OEMs define it. GM is jumping in with both feet and total disregard for almost certain failure simply because of its US government ownership. And guess which small trucks, US agencies, municipalities and utilities will prefer? Toyotasan? The rest of the OEMs thinking of entering the market have to cautiously wait. Wait to see if GM’s small trucks are a hit with consumers, other than fleet, cheapskates, government, Orkin, and other rebate demanding bottom feeders. And the take rate of diesels.

      The GM twins would have to be a runaway success for other OEMs to justify jumping into such a volatile market. Or adding a diesel option if they’re already in the game. And to jump in knowing they may not be able to capture much of GM’s stranglehold, if any. Or compete with GM rebates and financing. The GM twins may dominate the small truck market, and likely weaken Toyota and Nissan’s position dramatically, leaving even less chance for other OEMs to gain any kind of foothold. And what would make them think they have any better chance than Toyota and Nissan?

      There’s lots of things to consider if you’re Ssangyong. Mostly, how low can your prices go? And how long can you keep giving trucks away, before consumers start to trust you aren’t going away, any time soon, leaving consumers holding the bag on worthless junk like Daewoo and Daihatsu did. If you’re the consumer, who can you sue? Yourself???

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @DM–The odds of Ssangyong being successful are low regardless of what they sell short of government subsidies. It took the Japanese years to get a foothold in the US. The Japanese government initially gave their auto industry tax breaks and loans. Also there is a limit to how much they can charge for a franchise fee. Where I live those dealers that lost their Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler dealerships either closed, went into the used car business, or became Kia or Mitsubishi dealerships. One large Chevrolet dealership in N KY had been in business selling Chevrolets for 90 years when they lost their franchise in 2009. They looked at different franchises and finally decided to close for good. I don’t know if the South Korean government would be willing to support Ssangyong. Now if this were a Chinese manufacturer then I think the Chinese might. Eventually we will have the Chinese in auto and truck market, but I cannot see another South Korean or even Indian (Mahindra) successfully competing in the US market.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Jeff S -Too many American consumers would rather buy a base Toyota, Nissan or GM mid-size at the same price as a hard loaded Korean truck and have actual resale value in a few years of ownership vs salvage value.

      It’s tough enough for an OEM to start from scratch in America. Even English, Italian, French and Swiss cars are a hard sell. Cars from Korea and such, have an especially tough road ahead, if they chose to take on America. Consumers here have been burned too many times. Now a truck OEM from Korea or China would be especially challenged vs subcompact cars from that region.

      Never mind the enormous costs of building BOF trucks vs disposable subcompacts, there’s so much emotion tied to truck purchases vs cars, that unless you’re a fleet, cheapskate or other bottom feeding consumer just there for the lowest cost base stripper truck in existence, you’re likely not interested in cheap throw away truck at cut-rate pricing with ANY options, gadgetry and luxury thrown in for free or at the price of a base (similar layout/configuration) Tacoma, Frontier or Colorado/Canyon.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @DM–I am doubtful about Ssangyong entering the US market. As soon as they would enter with a compact 4 door car Nissan would bring the Micra into the market and undercut them. Hyundai and Kia would have a lower price entry as well. Chevy would compete with a lower cost Daewoe as well. The Chinese could eventually enter the US but they might make vehicles for GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, or Nissan before they enter on their own. Many potential franchisees would be wary of doing business with Ssangyong since it is owned by Mahindra. I do see a potential for a midsize diesel truck if it is priced right.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    @Jeff S – Without consumer confidence, who cares how low the price is? Would you spend $30,000 for a hard loaded Korean truck that’ll likely fall apart and be worth $800 retail in five years when the OEM leaves the US laughing? Of course you would…

    Why was anybody buying Corollas and Sentras when they could have bought a Daewoo or Daihatu at a huge savings and way more bang for your buck?


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