Not every Korean automaker has had the success of Kia and Hyundai.
Korean automakers can do little wrong at the moment, right? Well, that's the general consensus when one looks at Kia and Hyundai, especially with brave new models like the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Kia EV6. But for South Korean automaker SsangYong, times have been a lot tougher. Late last year, the company known for building some automotive lemons through the years filed for bankruptcy. The combination of poor financials and the early effects of the pandemic hit Ssangyong hard. Almost a year later, the debt-laden automaker is apparently going to be sold to a young Korean EV startup called Edison Motors, and for not that much money at all.
According to Nikkei Asia, SsangYong chose Edison Motors based on factors like future plans, its members' fundraising strength, and the offer price. What price are we talking about, you may ask? Well, the deal is valued at around $260 million according to industry sources, and it's all expected to be finalized by the end of November.
Edison was only founded in 2015 and currently makes electric buses. It is also developing commercial trucks, but by acquiring SsangYong, the startup has the opportunity to more easily enter the passenger EV market.
After being acquired by India's Mahinda & Mahindra - the majority shareholder - around a decade ago, SsangYong's fortunes have simply not improved in recent years. Last year, SsangYong's output declined by 20 percent to only around 106,000 vehicles. It then filed to enter receivership in December.
In July this year, SsangYong revealed sketches of a Ford Bronco rival known for now as the X200. It's the kind of product that could save the company and, who knows, perhaps even see it enter the US market. With the new Edison deal, SsangYong will be hoping that this is the shot in the arm it needs to succeed.