Ssangyong’s new owner to shed ‘painful image’

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Subject to shareholders’ approval, Ssangyong will change its name to KG Mobility and begin a new era.

Ssangyong Motor will be rebranded as KG Mobility to shed its “painful image”, new chairman Kwak Jea-sun has said.

Speaking at an industry event, Jea-sun was quoted by the Korea Herald as saying: “The name Ssangyong Motor has a fandom with good memories, but it also has a painful image.

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“From now, all Ssangyong cars will come out to the world under the name of KG.”

The name change is subject to shareholders’ approval at a general meeting in March.

The South Korean car manufacturer was purchased by KG for 950 billion won (AUD$1.09 billion) in August 2022, ending nearly two years of uncertainty for Ssangyong.

The brand filed for receivership – volunteering for a dramatic restructuring overseen by the South Korean courts – in December 2020, after previous owner Mahindra withdrew all investment, having failed to turn the business around in a decade under its wing.

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It was almost purchased for $329m by Edison Motors – a nascent company producing electric buses and commercial vehicles – but the deal fell through after Edison failed to meet a payment deadline in March 2022.

The Korea Economic Daily reported after the deal broke down that unionised workers at Ssangyong opposed the buyout, doubting Edison’s ability to finance the company.

It is currently unclear whether Sssangyong’s name change will affect the company’s Australian operations.

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The changes do not affect the future of the Ssangyong Torres, the firm’s second electric car, joining the existing Ssangyong Korando e-Motion crossover.

Ssangyong – South Korea’s oldest car manufacturer, founded in 1954 – adopted the name in 1986 after being acquired by the Ssangyong Group. It was previously known as Dong-A-Motor Co and Ha Dong Hwan Motor.

Producing a series of competitively priced, hardy 4x4s and family cars, it has historically struggled to make an impression outside South Korea.

According to figures from vehicle registrations data tracker carsalesbase.com, Ssangyong’s European sales peaked at 32,840 in 2007. They plunged dramatically during the 2008 financial crisis to 9700 units and have not surpassed 20,000 annual sales in the region since.

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