SsangYong Saved, But A US Launch May Not Be In The Cards

Industry News / 9 Comments

Do SsangYong's new owners want to continue the mission to the USA?

Even though SsangYong has never sold its wares in the USA, you likely know the name from watching Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear. The show famously made fun of the Rodius, which might be the ugliest car ever. Don't believe us? It looked like the Pontic Aztek's ugly cousin. We'll attach an image at the very bottom of this article, but we can't take any responsibility for the damage the Rodius may cause.

SsangYong went bust due to COVID-19 shutting the world down, but now it's coming back. Why should you care? Because SsangYong did a complete 180 under the custodianship of an Indian-based conglomerate and started building semi-decent cars. Near the end of 2017, Mahindra & Mahindra announced that it wanted to start selling SsangYongs in the States, which is not as crazy as it sounds, especially when you consider that SsangYong and Mercedes once developed cars together.

SsangYong SsangYong SsangYong SsangYong

SsangYong is South Korean, and thanks to the success of Kia and Hyundai, it has already been established that Americans are willing to buy quality products made in South Korea. While SsangYong wasn't quite up to Kia/Hyundai standards, the Tivoli showed great promise. It was the first car launched using that sweet Indian conglomerate money, and it showed. Think previous-generation Kia Soul, but with a less premium interior.

A new conglomerate based in South Korea must have also realized the potential because it recently paid $690 million for a 61% controlling share in the company. As reported by The Korea Herald, the main driving force behind this conglomerate is the KG Group, which is a chemical company.

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The KG Group is not the first to show interest in the brand. Edison, a South Korean-based EV startup, wanted to buy the brand as early as October 2021. In January 2022, Edison made its move, but the deal fell through after it failed to pay an outstanding amount of $224 million to Mahindra & Mahindra.

It's too early to tell whether the KG Group has such high expectations for SsangYong. The first step in the process is to stabilize operations and revamp the range to be competitive. Two years is a long time to remain static in the automotive industry, especially on the EV side.

The current SsangYong range consists of the midsize Korando and large Rexton SUVs. It also offers the Musso pickup truck, also available as an EV.


Despite its financial woes, SsangYong was already in the process of developing the all-new Torres. In other parts of the world, the Torres is considered a midsize SUV, but it would count as a compact in the USA.

As you can see in the images, the Torres is 50% Jeep and 50% Range Rover Evoque. It's not a blatant copy of either, but you can definitely see the inspiration.

The Torres is doing good things for the brand in Australia, which is a notoriously tricky market to crack. In July this year, the brand increased its sales by 34% compared to July 2021. Given the current global parts crisis, any growth is a huge win.

The American market is even tougher to crack, and only time will tell whether SsangYong will make it to America.

Dennis Elzinga/Wikipedia Dennis Elzinga/Wikipedia
Source Credits: The Korea Herald

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