A provisional liquidator is being appointed urgently to try to facilitate the insolvent SsangYong Motor Dealership business in South Africa being kept in business and taken over by Imperial's Associated Motor Holdings (AMH), says CARtoday.com. An order placing the South African importer and distributor of the Korean sports utility vehicles was made in the Cape High Court yesterday (14/12/00). It was said to owe R47 million to FirstRand.

SsangYong Musso SUVs are manufactured in Korea by a company within the bankrupt Daewoo Motor group. They have sold comparatively well in South Africa by being priced aggressively in the segment with a marketing message emphasising that they are fitted with Mercedes-Benz engines.

DaimlerChrysler has a minority stake in the Korean company and there have been talks between the Germans and Koreans about DaimlerChrysler taking it over completely in a separate deal from the ongoing negotiations for General Motors and Fiat to acquire other parts of Daewoo Motor.

Associated Motor Holdings is South Africa's largest vehicle importer, which earlier this year took over the Hyundai distributorship from the bankrupt Wheels of Africa group. AMH also imports Kia vehicles from Korea, and distributes French Renaults through its South African dealer network.

The delays in ensuring continuing service for Hyundai owners after Wheels of Africa collapsed seem to have provided a lesson in trying to move fast to strike a deal to ensure continuity for SsangYong Musso owners and protecting the brand, CARtoday.com said.