South Korea's oldest automaker hasn't had much success under the SsangYong name.
The oldest and saddest South Korean manufacturer, SsangYong, is facing a name change and will be rechristened KG Mobility.
SsangYong was saved from the automotive landfill by a conglomerate called the KG Group. This giant South Korean conglomerate has no history with the automotive industry and has become a billion-dollar giant thanks to chemicals and steel.
The KG Group established the third tier, KG Mobility, in June 2022. That's the name that will be used to replace SsangYong. Obviously, a new name requires a new logo, and the KG Logo will do quite nicely. While less appealing than the so-called dragon logo, the South Korean company desperately needs a revamp.
The news was confirmed to The Korea Herald by the KG Group's chairman, Kwak Jea-Sun.
"The name SsangYong Motor has a fandom with good memories, but it also has a painful image," said Kwak. "From now, all SsangYong cars will come out to the world under the name of KG. Even with the name change, SsangYong Motor's history will not change."
The odd thing about SsangYong is that it had everything going for it at one stage. Its halo car, the Musso, was powered by a Mercedes-Benz-sourced engine. The second-generation Korando was also a decent alternative to the Jeep Wrangler, also powered by several Mercedes engines.
SsangYong's troubles started after it was bought out by Daewoo and SAIC, which now has a working relationship with General Motors. The resulting vehicles were disastrous. We have no idea who signed off on the Rodius, but they should feel very ashamed. Look at the sad car below and tell us you disagree.
The Indian manufacturer Mahindra purchased what was left of SsangYong in 2010, but instead of producing a new range of hardcore and semi-hardcore vehicles like the Musso and Korando, Mahindra rebadged its existing models as SsangYongs. Why? Thanks to manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia, South Korea has built a sterling reputation for producing quality vehicles. In short, it's easier to sell a car built in South Korea than a car built in India, and in the age of information, you can't hide stuff like that anymore. As a result, the company went bust during the COVID-19 lockdown.
A name change may be best, but the brand still has potential, thanks to its South Korean roots. The Torres is an awkward-looking SUV roughly the size of a Kia Telluride, which is an example of the lofty heights a South Korean automaker can achieve with worthwhile investment and development.
The big question is whether KG Mobility stands a chance in the USA. Hyundai and Kia's sales figures might convince the KG Group that it's at least worth a shot.