I am flying to Seoul later today as a guest of SsangYong and looking forward to getting a good update on the Mahindra-owned company this week. It's certainly been quite a turnaround for the company since the dark days of being in administration.
SsangYong got itself into a near terminal financial crisis under its previous owners, SAIC. There were big debts, sagging sales, delays to new product programmes and a Chinese stakeholder that was allegedly only interested in 4x4 technology transfer. Whether that allegation is true or not, the much talked about 'Chinese dimension' and synergies that SAIC's involvement with SsangYong was supposed to generate never materialised.
It was an acrimonious end to that relationship and by the end of the last decade, a liquidity crisis culminated in bankruptcy. Severe industrial relations turmoil halted SsangYong production altogether.
Mahindra eventually took over the brand and assets in 2011 and rebuilt the business, step by step, turning it around to profit last year (first time in the black since 2007).
Lately, the company has enjoyed considerable market success with the Tivoli SUV model. Tivoli appears to be transforming the image of the brand
the way hit models are capable of doing. And Mahindra has been able to develop a new product strategy for SsangYong that is integrated with Mahindra's engineering platforms, to manage product development costs.
I'll also be at the Seoul Motor Show later this week on press day and that's a show I haven't been to before, so I am looking forward to that (and, needless to say, to reacquainting myself with kimchi and soju).
Seoul motor show - SsangYong & Hyundai world debuts
Tivoli is acting as a catalyst for SsangYong change - UK MD
Until next time...
2017 Russia Automotive Forum
As the Russian automotive market and industry eyes a slow recovery, the industry gathered at the annual Russia Automotive Forum in Moscow. just-auto was there.