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SSANGYONG - THE FIRST 60 YEARS: 1954 - 2014

29-07-2014
SSANGYONG - THE FIRST 60 YEARS: 1954 - 2014

Its origins can be traced back to 1954, since when it has had associations with a number of other well-known automotive brands including Mercedes-Benz, Daewoo and SAIC - which now owns MG.  Today its future is secure, thanks to a 73% stake from the Indian engineering conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra, which vies with Tata as India’s largest automotive producer.  The brand first arrived in the UK in 1994 with the Musso.

SsangYong - the name means double dragon - has always specialised in producing 4x4s, and today that also includes SUVs (sports utility vehicles) and MPVs (multi-purpose vehicles).  Its proposition is to offer customers real value, both in terms of price, but also in the size of car and equipment levels.  Cars sold in the UK come with a market-leading five year limitless mileage warranty.

While in the past the company has utilised technology from other producers, notably Mercedes-Benz, today SsangYong designs and manufactures its own key components including state of the art high-technology engines.

The brand really started developing modern four-wheel drive vehicles for the world market in the 1980s with a range that included first generation Korando and Musso in the early 1990s.  These were strong and dependable cars, and established the DNA of future product development.  Since 2000, further new models such as Rexton, Kyron and Korando have helped position SsangYong as a leader in the SUV market, while giving Korea its own complete SUV product range.

In September 2010, the third iteration of Korando was presented to the world’s media, and represented a major step change for the brand.  This contemporary looking C-segment crossover was designed by Giugiaro, the celebrated Italian automotive designer, while also embracing monocoque construction for the first time, marking Korando as a signification product departure for SsangYong.

Looking into the near future, the company will launch an all new B-segment car, currently code named X100.  Various iterations of this have been shown at recent international motor shows, the most recent being its XLV concept at Geneva in March.  This product line, which is being jointly developed with Mahindra, will spawn long and short wheel base derivatives.

SsangYong is ambitious and keen to gain an increasing share of the global market, and with the new Korando together with other new models in the range is now exporting to China, the largest market in the world, and in increasing volumes to Russia.  Western Europe and especially the UK are very significant markets, while further growth will come from India and Africa in partnership with Mahindra, as well as Central & South America and Eastern Europe.  There is now a network of over 1,000 sales outlets around the world in over 90 countries.

The headquarters for SsangYong Motor Company is in the Gangnam district of Korea’s capital, Seoul, and its principal vehicle manufacturing plant is at Pyungtaek which has the capacity and latest technology to produce 240,000 cars a year.

Historical timeline

1954 - Ha Dong-Hwan Motor Workshop

SsangYong was initially established as Ha Dong-Hwan Motor Workshop in 1954.  The company started by producing trucks, buses and special purpose vehicles, many for export.

1974 - Shinjin Jeep

Co-founded Shinjin Jeep and developed both hard and soft top Jeeps.

1977 - Donga Motor

In 1977 the company, known at that time as Ha Dong-Hwan Motor Co changed its name to the Donga Motor Co Ltd.

1984 - Acquired Geohwa

In 1984 the company took over Geohwa Co and with it the name Korando, derived from ‘Korando Can Do’.

1986 - SsangYong

In 1986 the SsangYong Group acquired the company and subsequently all vehicles were given he SsangYong name.

1991 - Mercedes-Benz partnership

In 1991 SsangYong formed a strategic alliance with Daimler-Benz.  This allowed SsangYong to develop products using Mercedes-Benz technology.

1993 - Musso

The first vehicle launched using Mercedes technology was the large SUV, the SsangYong Musso.

1996 - Korando 2

The ‘new’ Korando was launched to compliment the SsangYong Musso and featured several engine options including both petrol and diesel.

1997 - Daewoo

Daewoo bought a majority stake in SsangYong and subsequently vehicles such as the Korando and Musso were sold under the Daewoo brand name until 2001.

2001 - Rexton

The first generation Rexton was launched, and continued to utilise Mercedes-Benz technology.  Rexton furthered SsangYong's reputation for producing competent off-roaders.

2004 - SAIC & Rodius

In 2004 SsangYong merged with the Chinese company, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).  2004 also saw the company launch a large seven seat MPV for the first time with Rodius.

2011 - Mahindra & Mahindra & new Korando

Mumbai based Mahindra Motor Co, India's largest maker of utility vehicles acquired SsangYong.  2011 also saw the launch of the third generation Korando, SsangYong’s first car to use monocoque construction and its own in-house designed and manufactured 2.0 litre diesel engine.

2012 - Korando Sports

Launch of Korando Sports pick-up which brought a new level of refinement and car-like handling to the utility pick-up market.

2013 - Turismo

Launch of Turismo, a much updated and improved version of the seven seater Rodius, now with the 2.0 litre diesel engine and more contemporary styling.

2014 - Rexton W

Rexton W reached the UK in early 2014 with an all new look and now well proven SsangYong 2.0 litre diesel engine.  Rexton W is set to build on its predecessor’s reputation as a tough, no-nonsense off-roader and tow-car.

2015 - X100

2015 promises to be another landmark year for SsangYong with the launch of X100, the brand’s first small B-segment crossover.  Engineered in partnership with Mahindra and powered by an all-new family of SsangYong designed 1.6 litre petrol and diesel engines, X100 will be the cornerstone of SsangYong’s future product development.

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