The Korean auto maker hopes that its new B-segment crossover — developed with the help of international specialists - will bring it success in Europe and, eventually, North America
WORDS BY GRAHAM HEEPS
SsangYong Motor continues its journey into the global mainstream with the introduction of the Tivoli, a compact crossover in the style Of the super-successful Nissan Juke and Renault Captur. The Mahindra-owned auto maker claims that the car, which has been on sale in Korea since January this year, is already stealing sales from the likes of the Captur (sold as the Renault Samsung QM3 in the Korean market) and the Chevrolet Trax.
The Tivoli project took four years to complete, with work based at SsangYong's technical center in Pyeongtaek, where CTO Jae-Wan Lee, leads a staff of 800 engineers and designers.
The car is new from the ground up, featuring not only all-new engines but a new platform, too. "It was a huge challenge to do both of these things concurrently," Lee tells us. Help was at hand from AVI- on the powertrain, however. The results are 1.6-liter petrol and diesel engines, mated with a manual gearbox or an Aisin automatic, and two- or four-wheel drive. SsangYong has also been working with Ricardo.
Lee stresses that the Tivoli was developed by SsangYong itself without technical input from Mahindra, but explains that there will be some components and designs shared between the two OEMs. Mahindra, for example, will use a three-cylinder engine that has its bore and stroke in common with SsangYong's 1.6-liter unit. "We can also combine our volumes and source some components from the same global suppliers to get economies of scale," he adds.
SsangYong is slowly transitioning from its traditional body-on-frame vehicles like the large Rexton SUV to monocoque structures, the first of which was the Korando C, a C-segment SUV launched in 2010. The first Tivoli mule cars were based on Korando Cs with modified bodies and suspension.
"To save time, we then used digital prototypes and skipped the first (physical) prototype phase," Lee reveals. "It was 20 months from the digital design being fixed to the start of production in January this year.'
For more information on the SsangYong Tivoli please click here