Currently reading: Mahindra seeks new owner for struggling Ssangyong
Indian manufacturing giant won't invest further in Korean SUV brand after disappointing returns on investment
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2 mins read
15 June 2020

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.

READ MORE

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The Apprentice 17 June 2020

I considered the Tivoli, don

I considered the Tivoli, don't mind the looks but whilst I usually take reviews with a pinch of salt, and at times found them to be unfounded cut and paste opinions - there are too many critical of the cars ride and handling to motivate me to trek to test one. That and the thirsty engines even on official figure so 30% higher than real world. Not ready for a Vitara size car with a Range Rover size thirst.
Chris C 15 June 2020

Arithmetic

2019 sales 967

It's not the end of June yet and 2020 sales so far are 510 so surely will exceed 967 pro rata by year end Coronavirus pent up demand notwithstanding?

Agree that styling is challenging. I considered buying a Tivoli but the underbody design looked too clumsy. Local dealer was pretty useless and never followed up enquiry - now closed. Not sure that the Tivoli facelift has improved anything.

Still should be a demand by caravanners, etc, who need to tow and find the Discovery has gone too upmarket. 

Possibly needs Huyndai/Kia to take them over as a specialist sub brand. Or PSA as a stepping stone into that region? Maybe their production facilities are more attractive than their  own range of vehicles.

si73 15 June 2020

Were they not previously part

Were they not previously part owned by Kia Hyundai?
Riley 1.5 15 June 2020

That'll be the Daewoo

In 1998, Daewoo took them over and went bankrupt two years later, so it seems the brand has all the luck of a poisoned chalice. The dealer who supplied my Suzuki also sell Ssang Yong, so I presume they'll be hoping that the brand survives. Previously, some of their products have been slightly hideous, but even a 7 year warranty doesn't seem to have been enough to persuade UK drivers to purchase. Perhaps it's the badge, or the name.

tuga 15 June 2020

SsangYong

Chris C wrote:

Maybe their production facilities are more attractive than their own range of vehicles.

 

That's what I'm thinking too, and seeing how active worker unions are in South Korea, Hyundai may be their only hope. GM has pretty much left, and I don't think Renault even remembers they have a factory/brand there anymore.

JazzBlueHemi 15 June 2020

No Surprise to me

Tivoli will have lost out massively in the budget sector to the Dacia Duster and the MG ZS. A lot of Ssangyongs are proper off roaders. But most people don't want proper off roaders, they want stylish, fashionable SUVs and a "premium" badge. Ssangyong can offer neither.