The former chief executive of Ssangyong Motor has apologised to employees for the company's troubles. Choi Hyung-tak stepped down as CEO when the company last week filed for bankruptcy in Korea (a process broadly similar to that applying in the US - so that the firm can continue trading under the direction of a court).

SAIC-owned Ssangyong has halted production at its only assembly plant indefinitely since applying for receivership, as a parts shortage has taken hold.

"I would like to express my deepest apologies to employees and their family members for applying for court receivership," Choi Hyung-tak  wrote in a letter to employees.

"Also, I feel an overall responsibility for making the difficult decision amid a liquidity crisis," Choi said.

He added that he is confident, however, that Ssangyong could overcome the current crisis, Yonhap reported.

Ssangyong is being viewed in South Korea as the auto industry's first high-profile victim of the global economic slump.

Financial regulators and creditors, led by state-run Korea Development Bank, have urged SAIC to help rescue the ailing carmaker. But SAIC has shown little interest in bailing out its affiliate, the Yonhap report said.

If a Seoul court accepts the application for receivership, SAIC will lose its management control but retain its 51% stake in Ssangyong, the report added.