India’s Mahindra & Mahindra confirmed this week it was prepared to give up its majority ownership of Ssangyong Motor to help it find a new strategic investor for the struggling South Korean SUV maker.

The Indian carmaker currently holds a 74.65% stake in Ssangyong but is prepared to give up control after its losses continued to deepen due to the COVID-19 global pandemic which has decimated world markets this year.

The company’s global sales fell by 28% to 56,846 units in the first seven months of 2020 from 78,687 units a year earlier. 

Ssangyong reported its 13th consecutive quarter of financial losses in the first quarter of 2020, prompting Mahindra & Mahindra to inject KRW40bn (US$33m) into the company to help it stay afloat through the global pandemic.

But this was far short of the KRW230bn (US$187m) in fresh capital Mahindra had previously said was needed to return Ssangyong to profitability over a period of three years.

A Mahindra spokesperson confirmed “it is hard for us to find a new investor in SsangYong if we keep our majority stake. So Mahindra has agreed to lower its stake to below 50% to encourage more investors”.