Korea’s fourth largest carmaker is about to make another comeback in Australia and this time, it might just succeed.
One of the key drivers behind the brand’s revival is the all-new Korando C – a stylish enough compact SUV crossover with a monocoque platform, that has somehow managed to avoid the ugly stick.
Not excited? What if I told you that the Korando C will be powered by a state of the art German designed two-litre diesel engine using a two-stage turbocharger with an advanced high-efficiency exhaust gas recycling (EGR) intercooler producing a solid 130kW and a stomping 450Nm of torque. Is that something that might interest you?
In 2008 there were 43 Ssangyong dealers across Australia. Two years later, there were just 25 of those dealers willing to hang on in the hope of more prosperous times ahead. You could hardly blame them given the rocky road the brand endured over the years, not to mention various owners who were guilty of having more passion than dollars.
Enter Peugeot Australia distributor Sime Darby, the massive Malaysian conglomerate who bought the Australasian rights to the Ssangyong brand in 2008, and has spent millions of dollars over the last 18-months maintaining something of a brand presence in readiness for its upcoming relaunch.
It’s no surprise then when a recent recruitment campaign asking for Ssangyong dealers, drew a response of 17 applications, of which five of those have already been appointed, taking the total to 30.
With the backing of Sime Darby, who just happen to be the world’s third largest BMW distributor (including China) as well as retailing Rolls Royce cars in Hong Kong and Suzuki in Macau, Ssangyong has a better than average chance of establishing a sustainable business in Australia, provided the product delivers not only the latest technology in a reliable, yet, attractive package, but above all, remains a value for money proposition, which has always been a core asset of the brand.
When the Korando C is launched in Australia in the fourth quarter this year, Ssangyong Australia will offer the vehicle in front wheel drive and all wheel drive versions with a choice of either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, developed by Australian company DSI in Albury.
From the photos CarAdvice has been supplied by Ssangyong, it’s clear why Sime Darby is optimistic. The Korando C appears to be a thoroughly contemporary design with an upmarket interior treatment. Of course, the proof will be when we finally drive the car and look at the pricing structure.
Ssangyong Motors Australia General Manager, Mr Jeff Barber, has seen and driven the Korando C and believes it has what it takes to win the hearts of at least 2000 Australians during the first year of sales.
He also said that it “will hold it’s own against any compact SUV on the market today”
Despite the fact that the current Ssangyong line-up is an all diesel affair, and the company’s catchcry is “We Live Diesel”, don’t be surprised if the Korando C is eventually offered with a petrol engine.
The company is also developing both a hybrid and an all-electric version of the Korando C, given those technologies were on display at the recent Pusan International Motor Show in Korea.
The EV Korando employs a 100kW electric motor and the latest in battery technology with a 30kWh 300V high voltage lithium Polymer unit capable of propelling the car at a speed of 150km/h for a distance of 180 kilometres.
CarAdvice will keep you posted on the launch of the Korando C and updates to the current range of Ssangyong vehicles in Australia.