Currently reading: Ssangyong confirms rebrand to KG Mobility
New ownership ends long period of uncertainty for Korean manufacturer; plans to shed ‘painful image’

Ssangyong Motor Company has confirmed it will rebrand as KG Mobility under its new owner, the KG Group.

The change was today approved by shareholders, having been announced by new chairman Kwak Jea-sun on 4 January.

He was quoted by the Korea Herald as saying: “The name Ssangyong Motor has a fandom with good memories, but it also has a painful image. From now, all Ssangyong cars will come out to the world under the name of KG.”

The Korean manufacturer was purchased by KG for 950 billion won (£620 million) in August 2022, ending nearly two years of uncertainty.

Ssangyong had filed for receivership – volunteering for a dramatic restructuring overseen by the Korean courts – in December 2020, after previous owner Mahindra withdrew all investment, having failed to turn the business around in a decade under its wing.

It was almost purchased for £187m by Edison Motors, a nascent Korean company producing electric buses and commercial vehicles, but the deal fell through after Edison failed to meet a payment deadline in March 2022.

Ssangyong musso 2021 front tracking

The Korea Economic Daily reported after the deal broke down that unionised workers at Ssangyong had opposed the buyout, doubting Edison’s ability to finance the company.

The region’s managing director, Kevin Griffin, today said in a statement that “we will confirm more detail around the impact to the UK in due course”.

The changes don't affect the forthcoming launch of the Ssangyong Torres EV, the firm's second electric car.

Sales of the ICE Torres – not bound for the UK – began in South Korea last year.

Ssangyong is Korea’s oldest car manufacturer, founded in 1954. It adopted its current name in 1986 after being acquired by the Ssangyong Group. It was previously known as Ha Dong-Hwan Motor and then Dong-A-Motor.

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Producing a series of competitively priced, hardy 4x4s and family cars, Ssangyong has historically struggled to make an impression outside Korea. 

According to figures from vehicle registrations tracker, its European sales peaked at 32,840 in 2007. They plunged dramatically during the 2008 financial crisis to 9700 and haven't surpassed 20,000 since.

Under KG, the company now plans to focus on EV-specific platforms and developing software-defined vehicles, with planned features including autonomous driving and integration of artificial intelligence (AI).

A spokesperson for KG Mobility said: “By focusing on the design and development of future vehicles utilising new technologies such as EV-dedicated platforms, software-defined vehicles, autonomous vehicles and AI etc, the company is really embracing change, and we will grow and develop as a proud and respected future automotive mobility partner.”

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin Autocar
Title: Editorial Assistant, Autocar

As a reporter, Charlie plays a key role in setting the news agenda for the automotive industry. He joined Autocar in July 2022 after a nine-month stint as an apprentice with sister publication, What Car?. He's previously contributed to The Intercooler, and placed second in Hagerty’s 2019 Young Writer competition with a feature on the MG Metro 6R4

He is the proud owner of a Fiat Panda 100HP, and hopes to one day add a lightweight sports car like an Alpine A110 or a Lotus Elise S1 to his collection.

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jason_recliner 23 March 2023

I test-drove a Korando a couple fo yars back. It was really funny - not bad per se, just strange. EVERYTHING about it was strange. From the sound of the indicator to the loping soft ride to the engine that wound up like a spinning top, like driving a turbo Saab, to the styling. It felt more like a real 4WD than any of the rivals. We actuallyt laughed every time I indicted so clearly it was not a sustainable proposition!  But it was great, it was funny, it was strange - it seemed like the engineers hadn't driven other mainstream cars.

martin_66 23 March 2023

If they really want to turn the company around their biggest investment should be in a designer who can create cars that are nice to look at, rather than the monstrosities that they are so famous for churning out. They should just look at their rivals - Kia/Hyundai.  They produce rally nice looking cars and look how successful they have become.  If they made cars that look like Ssangyong, they would be in the same dire financial situation.

Simple!  Problem solved!

FastRenaultFan 23 March 2023
That's harsh. Have you seen the latest Tivoli or a Korando even? They are both very good looking cars both inside and outside.
The new Torres suv looks really good too. A pity it's too little to late.
I agree with you do about getting a well renowned known designer like Kia have and Hyundai too. That would really help them.
martin_66 23 March 2023

I think we will have to agree to disagree.  The Tivoli and Korando are both horrible to look at, and the less said about the Rexton and Musso the better.  It's no surprise the company is doing as badly as it it when they design cars that look like that.

rhwilton 23 March 2023

I hired an "Astra or equivalent" last time I went on holiday and was given a Ssangyong Tivoli. It was the most uncomfortable car I'd driven in more than 30 years. The ride was very bumpy on anything other than perfectly smooth roads. It certainly wasn't the equivalent of an Astra. An Astra is a Rolls in comparison. It had plenty of electronics, but I wanted a car not a computer.