Ssangyong to launch first SUV after M&M deal

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Seoul
  • Updated: Dec 05, 2014 10:46 IST

Ssangyong Motors, the South Korean subsidiary of India’s SUV maker Mahindra & Mahindra, is set to launch its first car after the three-year-old buyout, called Tivoli.

The B class SUV, equipped with the latest technology, will be launched in Seoul in January, Ssangyong CEO Lee Yoo-il told HT. After that, he said, the company hopes to launch a new car every year.

Lee said it was the Indian company’s investment of $520 million (Rs. 3,224 crore) in March 2011 that saved Ssangyong and kept it debt-free; last year another $80 million (Rs. 496 crore) was injected.

“Mahindra invested in this company for future strategic cooperation,” Lee said. “They have a small engine, we have a big engine. In the future, we can develop an engine together, share the platform and the cost.”

Talking about the buyout, Lee said there were initial issues as the two entities did business different ways. “There were cultural differences; differences in the way of thinking, way of doing business,” he said.

The workers’ unions had apprehensions mostly because they did not know about India, he said. All they knew was that India is a big country with “many races and languages”. “They wanted to know about the future plans?” Lee said.

Talking about the impending launch, Lee said the Tivoli is targeted at “urban, young buyers between 25 and 35”.

It is likely to be exported to at least 100 countries including in Europe, South America, Asia and West Asia.

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