Ssangyong is displaying its C200 concept car at the Barcelona motor show – even though the company is currently controlled by the Korean courts.
Financial troubles meant Ssangyong, which is part-owned by Chinese car maker SAIC, filed to go into court administration on 9 January this year.
As with US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, this process allows the company to restructure and – if the courts approve – return to trading at a later date.
Officials at Ssangyong anticipate having the restructuring plans approved by the courts on 22 May. As a result it is pushing ahead with bringing the C200 - which is described as “vital to Ssangyong’s future” - to production by the end of the year.
“Ssangyong is absolutely sure the outcome of the court process will be positive,” said Paul Williams, managing director of Koelliker UK, which imports Ssangyong vehicles into Britain. “It didn’t approach the courts as it doesn’t have any money, but because it saw problems ahead. It has cash in the bank.”
The Ssangyong C200 concept car was previously displayed at the Seoul motor show earlier this year in two guises; a conventional model was called Aero, while a hybrid version was called Eco. It will be re-engineered for right-hand-drive and go on sale in Britain ahead of the March plate change next year.
Initially, there will be a choice of two SAIC derived engines: a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a Euro 5 complaint 2.0-litre diesel unit. There will be six-speed manual and five-speed automatic gearbox options. The hybrid technology is said to be close to production, but no on-sale date has been set.
“The C200 represents a big step forward for the company,” said Williams. “It’s 90 per cent production ready and the quality is a big step forward on what Ssangyong has had in the past. It’s the first time we’ve had a monocoque vehicle in our line-up, and the platform can be used for front and four-wheel drive vehicles, so it will form the basis of more models.”