Troubled Korean SUV manufacturer Ssangyong is reportedly on the hunt for a new owner after its buyout by nascent EV firm Edison Motors fell through.
Earlier this year, the £187 million acquisition was approved by Korea's bankruptcy court, leaving it subject to Edison's payment of an outstanding £169m and agreement from more than two-thirds of Ssangyong's creditors.
It would have given Edison Motors a 95% stake in the Korean SUV manufacturer, but according to South Korean publication The Investor, the start-up failed to meet a 25 March payment deadline and the contract has now been cancelled. It remains to be seen what will happen to the £19.2m down payment Edison had made.
Autocar has contacted Ssangyong for an official statement.
The acquisition deal came after a long period of financial trouble for Ssangyong. Majority shareholder Mahindra & Mahindra had been seeking to sell its 75% stake since June 2020, having cancelled all further investment two months prior to that.
Details of Edison's interest went public in October last year, when it was primed – as part of a consortium – to take control of Ssangyong for 280 billion won (£170m).
Indian manufacturing giant Mahindra & Mahindra saved Ssangyong from bankruptcy in 2011, but slow global sales have limited the return on its investment. In December 2020, Ssangyong filed for bankruptcy, reportedly owing some 315bn won (£194m) to its creditors, and was ordered to restructure itself by a bankruptcy court.
The acquisition would have given seven-year-old Korean company Edison a market presence worldwide, courtesy of Ssangyong's affordably priced SUV line-up.
Edison currently produces only commercial EVs but was vocal about its plans to target Tesla in the passenger EV market with a radically designed and high-powered electric saloon known as the Smart S and a similarly conceived SUV called the Smart X.
Despite its financial troubles and declining sales in recent years, Ssangyong has been clear about its future product strategy. Its first EV, the Ssangyong Korando e-Motion, launched in the UK recently, and is set to be followed by a larger and more ruggedly styled SUV called the J100, which will serve as a rival to the forthcoming Dacia Bigster.