SsangYong Shows Some LUV
The Chevrolet LUV may have been one of the dorkier car names in the annals of automotive history, but it’s arguably better than the moniker of its Japanese counterpart, the Isuzu Faster. Korean car maker SsangYong’s new truck, the Korando Sports, is being dubbed the “Leisure Utility Vehicle”, and if parent company Mahindra can get their act together, the USA stands a chance of getting some LUV in the future.
ssangyong used to make some nice cars derived from mercedes w124 tooling. the musso and the chairman both had their charms. they then partnered with saic who basically ran the company into the ground and had huge labor problems. mahindra took ssangyong out of bankruptcy and is trying to resurrect the brand. i wish them luck.
Pilfered Mercedes bits? I was lead to believe that SsangYong held a licensing agrrement with MB which led to (in Oz at least) the Musso utiliy/4wd being sold as a Mercedes Benz, until SsangYong established its own dealer network. SsangYong always had butt ugly vehicles and some "strange" design themes, mostly derived from MB Vito Vans, same side styling. Now they have a new designer (yea!) Still will probaly had the worst plastic interiors, even worse than Chrysler. Even Kia outshines them in this area. Value for money? Great gadgets, bugger all safety.
Why don't they create proper, good looking new brand for western markets (no, not "MahJong", please) so they can get rid of the old SY and anyway nearly non existent but already iffy Mahindra image, when they are ready for launch? Would someone (GM, Spyker, TVR:) maybe sell them some dead brand names, so thy could sell their products as, say Saturns or Hummers? Probably not, but there has to be way to start from a clean sheet. LUV itself looks OK, btw.
I'm still waiting for a return of the proper two-door short-bed short-wheelbase 4x4... ...perhaps it's the marketing that's all wrong for these.. Don't market them as super-small Trucks and SUVs (then people will try to use them like Real trucks and SUVs and drop them like stale bread when they are found wanting), Market them as larger and road-legal versions of Side-by-Side UTVs. :D