Small SUVs Lead Ssangyong's Resurgence

      August 05, 2015 10:12

      Ssangyong Motor is bouncing back due to the popularity of its compact SUVs after a prolonged strike and takeover by India's Mahindra.

      Ssangyong beat Renault Samsung in domestic sales in the first half of this year to take the No. 4 spot in the crowded market.

      The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association on Tuesday said Ssangyong's first-half sales totaled 45,410 vehicles, while Renault Samsung sold 37,260. Ssangyong's sales rose 36.6 percent on-year but Renault Samsung's a mere 0.8 percent.

      The main reason for the strong sales at Ssangyong was the Tivoli small SUV released in January. Sales topped 4,000 units a month, accounting for more than half of total sales.

      Renault Samsung has a full lineup of cars ranging from sedans and SUVs to electric vehicles, but sales stagnated in the first half due to a lack of new models.

      Industry analysts say Indian automaker Mahindra's strategy of focusing on select models after acquiring Ssangyong in 2010 was right on the dot. The Indian automaker halted production of poorly selling models and focused all resources on the popular ones.

      Mahindra also bet on small SUVs, which were projected to grow in popularity and developed the Tivoli.

      Ssangyong plans to stick with SUVs and vans by rolling out the Turismo minivan and Rexton SUV later this year with engines meeting tougher Euro 6 emission standards. It will also release a longer version of the Tivoli next year.

      Renault Samsung hopes to catch up by launching a QM3 small SUV that also meets Euro 6 standards in the second half of this year. And in the first half of 2016, it will roll out the Talisman large sedan that was developed in conjunction with Renault headquarters in France but will be built at Renault Samsung's Busan factory.

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