US vehicle importer HAAH Automotive Holdings said it planned to submit a letter of intent (LoI) this week to acquire bankrupt South Korean automaker SsangYong Motor Company, according to local reports.

A source close to the importer said HAAH founder Duke Hale saw his California-based company as the “optimal company to acquire financially troubled Ssangyong and will submit a LoI by Friday”.

Ssangyong was placed under court receivership in April 2021 and its administrators set a 31 July deadline to receive bids for the automaker.

Mahindra & Mahindra, for close to two years, held talks with HAAH to sell its majority stake in loss-making Ssangyong without success.

Hale said HAAH needed more time to look into Ssangyong’s financial details before making an investment decision.

Earlier this month, Ssangyong administrators announced a recovery plan backed by the government of Pyeongtaek, where its vehicle assembly plant is located, 70km south of Seoul.

The plan involved selling the site of the existing plant and building a new plant in the same city to switch the entire Ssangyong range to all-electric models.

If its bid succeeds, HAAH plans to import Ssangyong vehicles into the United States and Canada.

Ssangyong has released a design sketch of a new SUV model under development, codenamed KR10 and equipped with an “eco-friendly” powertrain, to stimulate interest from prospective buyers.

Last month, the automaker said it would launch its first all-electric model, the Korando EV, in Europe later this year.