Head office is happy with how the operation is tracking Down Under at the moment, and will use experiences from our market to inform its future factory-backed ventures.
Ssangyong's head office is happy with how the brand relaunch is tracking in Australia so far, and will use the example of our market to hone its formula for factory-backed operations in other countries.
Speaking with media at the Pocheon Raceway in South Korea, Sanjeev Saksena, head of export markets for Ssangyong, said the Aussie operation is "performing very well" at the moment.
"We are confident that we should be successful," Saksena said. "We've got a very experienced team of people leading the business."
Since returning to the Australian market, the company has reconnected with existing owners left in the lurch when Ateco Australia dropped the Ssangyong brand, helping them source parts for their vehicles and working to create a "positive word of mouth" on the ground.
"If you look at the offering which has gone from Ssangyong Australia, I think it is ideal," he explained, sitting in the pit garage.
"[Ssangyong Australia's] connection with the dealers is ideal. Their connection with the existing customers is strong. They are being taken care of."
"As soon as Ssangyong Australia started doing their campaigns, a lot of customers for Ssangyong, they started connecting with Ssangyong Australia to convey they had problems and we had a surge of spare parts orders," he explained.
Now that initial demand has been dealt with, the number of orders has died down again.
Given it's the first time Ssangyong has operated as a factory-backed company outside South Korea, the Australian operation is treading a new path.
It's being treated as something of a "pilot" by head office, which will learn from its successes (and failures) as it pushes to potentially move away from the third-party distributor model in other markets.
"There are so many markets where, because of certain reasons, the distributor is not able to sustain the kind of marketing investments which are required," Saksena explained, referencing the fact middle-men have their own profit margins to consider.
"With your factory-owned subsidiary or distribution, you are not looking at margins, you are just looking at maybe breaking even. So you've got some leeway, and that leeway you try to invest into marketing or whatever are the complications of that market."
"We are just seeing that if [Australia] works for us, we will start replicating it in other markets where distributors are finding it difficult... if some distributor is trying to, say, exit, we'll take over now.
"We will perfect this business model we are trying to create in Australia."