Ssangyong could be dealt a major blow as Indian manufacturing giant Mahindra & Mahindra looks to give up control of the Korean brand, Reuters reports.
Mahindra owns a 75% stake in Ssangyong, having rescued the SUV specialist from near-bankruptcy in 2010, but it has been unable to make the necessary returns on investments. In April, it announced it would not invest further.
Mahindra managing director Pawan Goenka told Reuters: “Ssangyong needs a new investor. We are working with the company to see if we can secure investment.”
Ssangyong has been a presence in Britain since 1994, when it launched its original Musso SUV, but has struggled to find a footing here. In 2019, it shifted just 967 cars, capturing a mere 0.09% market share, despite the introduction of the new Rexton in 2017 and the new Korando that year.
This year’s figures are even lower: only 510 Ssangyong cars have been bought in 2020, although this needs to be viewed in the context of the coronavirus crisis.
European sales are similarly low. Following a peak in 2006, they have steadily declined, although there was a substantial boost from the popularity of the Tivoli in 2015.
This small crossover became the brand’s best-selling model, but its appeal has waned recently, and Autocar previously learned from Ssangyong sources that it was less profitable than its other SUVs. The Tivoli has benefitted from a recent update, however, with the updated model set to launch in the UK later this year.
Mahindra deputy managing director Anish Shah told Reuters that the company will keep a close eye on its loss-making businesses for the next 12 months as part of a wider cost-cutting and restructuring programme.