SUV specialist Ssangyong Motor Co. will develop a new mid-sized SUV on a passenger car platform from China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC) as part of the two automakers' bilateral strategic cooperation efforts, its president Jin-Kwan Soh said.

"Within several years, (Ssangyong Motor) could bring Shanghai Automotive Industry's passenger car platforms (into Korea), so we could develop a new mid-sized sport utility vehicle here," he said. "And, Shanghai Automotive could produce Ssangyong's SUVs (in China) in the future."

Soh spoke to reporters as SAIC officially took over Ssangyong.

He said Ssangyong Motor would expand investment in hybrid engine projects and others projects in alliance with SAIC and will produce two-litre mid-sized cars to make up for its weakness in the passenger car market where it currently sells only the (previous generation Mercedes-E-class based-) New Chairman luxury sedan.

"Ssangyong Motor will sell cars in China through the more than 100 outlets of Shanghai Automotive," Soh said, adding the cars will carry the Ssangyong Motor brand there.

SAIC concluded its Ssangyong Motor takeover by taking a 48.92% stake, equivalent to 59 million shares in the Korean automaker. Ssangyong Motor had been operating under a five-year debt workout programme agreed with creditors.

It has also appointed SAIC vice president Jiang Zhiwei to Ssangyong's nine-member board of directors.

SAIC said it would invest $1 billion to upgrade Ssangyong's production facilities and expand its export business - Europe is now its main overseas market.

Peter Chang