While the Korean automaker has long been a punching bag thanks to unfortunate styling decisions in vehicles like the first Rodius, it has in fact sold its fair share of vehicles in different markets around the world. After being passed around by a variety of corporate overlords, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2020.
Now, a takeover by a Korean EV company called Edison Motors has been approved by the suits in that country.
Hyundai and Kia did it, so why not Ssangyong? The India-owned Korean automaker has been itching to expand its horizons for years, but tentative plans to invade the Chinese car market have fallen victim to bad timing and geopolitics. Now, the company’s board is weighing a U.S. entry.
It’s not the first time Ssangyong Motor, owned by Mahindra & Mahindra, has eyed the United States for a big volume boost. Early last year, the automaker and its parent company temporarily shelved a proposed 2019 U.S. expansion plan, with Ssangyong’s CEO warning it could “make or break” the company.
Well, the idea’s back. With Ssangyong eager to land on American shores by 2020, a new report says the company has already made its decision.
On one end of the spectrum, there’s the Ssangyong Rodius, which actually isn’t as catastrophically designed in its second-generation form as it was from 2004 to 2013.
On the other, there’s the Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Pininfarina.
Somewhere in between will be the next edition of Ssangyong’s large Rexton SUV, due in the early part of the next decade and styled by one of the world’s foremost design houses.
Bentley Bentayga, BMW X4, Lexus LX570? Get in line. The Ssangyong Rexton has secured Pininfarina’s services already.
America’s unhealthy obsession with crossover vehicles has led to Ssangyong Motor Company’s decision to enter the U.S. market by 2020.
The Korean manufacturer has hinted at, and even announced, plans to come to America before with no resulting action. This time, things seem a little more realistic, with Automotive News reporting that the company is designating two small SUVs for the United States — the Tivoli and Korando — and giving itself a slightly longer timeline.
Like two brothers who really, really, really can’t get along (I can’t stress enough how much they don’t get along) no matter how hard they supposedly try, the Koreas have a hot/cold relationship, to put it mildly.
One moment, the brothers are manufacturing trinkets together in Kaesong Industrial Region, a special administrative region in the DPRK. The next, the North is threatening to bomb everyone and the South shuts off the water and electricity service (literally) to its brother’s apartment.
But what if the Koreas unified; became whole again? Mike Rutherford of AutoExpress thinks it would be a car-building paradise, with Hyundai, Kia, Samsung, and SsangYong best poised to take advantage of low-cost Northern labor and cheap, cheap land.
Back in February, TTAC reported that Ssangyong SUVs may be imported into the United States in the near future, and a report by Reuters confirms that significant steps have been made by parent company Mahindra to further that goal.
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.
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