The paint is barely dry on its dealer signs, but Ssangyong is already looking to expand its model range in Australia, detailing plans to bring the long-tray dual-cab Musso ute, mid-sized Korando SUV and facelifted Tivoli to our shores next year.
Speaking with CarAdvice in Melbourne, Andrew Ellis, local Ssangyong communications boss, offered the lowdown on what's to come in 2019 for the factory-backed operation.
The headline inclusion will be an all-new Korando, set for reveal at the Geneva motor show in March. Production is set to start in July, with the first cars touching down in Australia early in the third quarter. August is likely at this point.
Although details are scant, we know the car will be revealed with petrol, diesel and pure-electric power. Ellis is hopeful the electric model will come to Australia, but only if "the price is right" for our market. No guarantees, then.
The arrival of a new Korando calls the need for the Tivoli XLV into question. The company wouldn't confirm whether there's room for the XLV and Korando in the same range, but says it's capable of selling both side-by-side if sales justify it. Given the popularity of mid-sized SUVs in Australia we wouldn't rule it out, but only time will tell.
Before we see the new Korando, the dual-cab Musso range will be extended with a long-tray model. At 5405mm tip-to-tail, it's longer than regular dual-cab utes like the Isuzu D-Max, Toyota HiLux and Volkswagen Amarok, but shorter than the just-announced Jeep Gladiator.
Ellis wouldn't be drawn on how many Ssangyong wants to sell, or indeed what the dual-cab sales split will be going forward, but we know the company is chasing between 3000 and 3500 annual sales across its entire range.
Looking smaller, the regular Tivoli will be treated to a facelift in the middle of 2019 – July or August, at this point – with a new turbo petrol engine making around 120kW. That's a meaningful bump over the 94kW on tap from the naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre petrol currently offered.
A 1.5-litre turbo-diesel will also be added to the range, but outputs haven't been confirmed yet.
Ssangyong is in the midst of its re-launch in Australia. It was backed by an importer last time it ventured into Australia, this time around it's a fully factory-backed operation – the first outside of Korea, actually.
Cars are arriving in showrooms at the moment, and the brand's first TV commercials have officially started airing. CarAdvice is attending the launch for the Tivoli, Rexton and Musso ranges next week, stay tuned for full local reviews.