At the launch of the new range of Musso, Rexton and Tivoli models in country Victoria, Ssangyong has confirmed it will soon be undertaking the investment of a localised suspension tune for Australia, across its line-up.
It’s going to start with the Musso 4WD ute, which will be entering the highly competitive 4WD ute segment in 2019. The Musso will come with a coil-sprung rear end with a short wheelbase, and a leaf spring setup in the long wheelbase, which will both need a separate local setup. Next up might be the Rexton, but it’s not confirmed.
Vehicles on sale before these changes are implemented will be sold with a ‘European’ suspension tune. It will be offered as an accessory at that stage, along with a variety of other unconfirmed gear. Ssangyong is hoping to offer some aftermarket lift kits as part of its accessory range.
It’s the same thing Korean manufacturers Hyundai and Kia have been doing, with great success. Ssangyong representatives singled out the Hyundai i30 and the Kia Sportage as being two particular models that benefitted greatly from a localised suspension tune, and something they will be looking to emulate with their own range of tailored vehicles.
Ssangyong head office has previously noticed that while sales and feedback of its products in places like the United Kingdom was positive, the Australian market was a different story. Sales weren’t as quick to grow, and feedback about how the vehicles rode and drove wasn’t always complimentary.
Did you know Australia’s Highway 1, which comprises of 14,500 kilometres around the continent, is the longest national highway in the world? Australia is a bit of a special case when it comes to suspension tuning, compared to something like Europe or America. We’ve got the combination of a big road network, a small population, and long travelling distances to contend with.
While some might only use more typical motorways and urban roads for shorter stints, others might head out on much longer journeys along the hundreds of thousands of kilometres of minor Australian roads.
Minor roads vary between corkscrew twists and being dead straight, and can have surface conditions that give suspension tuners nightmares. Good ride and handling, which comes from a well-tuned suspension system, with good stability in particular, becomes an important safety feature.
Ssangyong has seemingly learned the Australian buyer will notice the difference between a good and bad setup. And, they will vote with their feet (and money). Ssangyong is currently in the tendering process for its own localised Australian tuning programme, which will start in approximately three months. The European tune will be the starting point, with a joint Korean/Australian effort to refine it to suit local conditions.