Korando leads Ssangyong’s UK revival
Brand new products and a new confidence are hallmarks of the revival, according to Ssangyong’s UK management.
Since the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s the brand has gone through a succession of owners – Daewoo, China’s SAIC and now India’s Mahindra & Mahindra which rescued the company from Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.
This often traumatic story has led to considerable uncertainty in the UK, but with the new Giugiaro-styled Korando arriving at dealerships, further confidence comes with a new distributor, Gibraltar based Bassadone Automotive Group.
Speaking to Headline Auto at the Korando launch event, Ssangyong UK managing director Paul Williams says that Bassadone has been involved with the brand since the summer.
“The group has a lot of experience in vehicle distribution in Europe and Africa with a number of brands,” Williams says.
“For the first time we have some secure financial backing and I can plan with confidence for the future.”
The new Korando enters the fastest-growing segment in the UK, the C-crossover, alongside Korean rivals such as the Kia Sportage and Hyundai ix35.
It will also face competition from strong contenders such as Nissan’s UK-built Qashqai.
The Korando joins the Rexton SUV and Rodius MPV in showrooms. Both the older models will get new Euro 5 engines next year, according to marketing and communications chief Steve Gray.
Also in the pipeline are a new pick-up, due next spring, and a B-segment crossover in 2013.
Words by: Andrew Charman