RAC Cars News


SsangYong Rebranding

By raccars Published

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South Korean manufacturer, SsangYong, has confirmed at this week's Paris Motor Show that it is going ahead with a plan to change its name to something with a wider global appeal. SsangYong, meaning 'Double Dragon', is perceived to be too provincial at a time when the company is planning to expand its international operations. The name also holds negative connotations in its domestic market, as it is associated with five bankruptcies.

The name change is to be part of a wider rebranding exercise, helping SsangYong to create a more upmarket image internationally. However, this is a very expensive exercise that is expected to cost upwards of $100 million, so SsangYong is proceeding very carefully. Earlier this year, there were rumours that the firm could take on the name of its parent company, Mahindra, but this week CEO and president, Lee Yoo-il, revealed that a consulting firm has come up with a shortlist of eight names and a decision has yet to be made.

SsangYong has been very clear that its future direction is as a manufacturer of SUVs operating at the lower to medium size level. Any name change would have to reflect the company's philosophy. Originally, it was expected that the name change would take effect in time for next year's Geneva Motor Show, when SsangYong will be displaying its new range of higher quality products, but this week it was announced that the process will take more time.

The firm is hoping to enter the US market within the next three or four years, which may be the best opportunity to launch a global rebranding exercise. In the meantime, SsangYong introduced two new concepts in Paris this week, the Adventure and the XIV Air, previewing compact SUV to rival the Nissan Juke. It seems likely that when the car is shown as a production version at Geneva next year, it will be badged as a SsangYong.

The concepts showed how SsangYong is planning to take its image upmarket. The Adventure highlighted exterior styling, while the Air's cabin demonstrated a commitment to quality not seen in the South Korean firm's cars previously. The SUV supermini will come with a choice of 1.6 litre petrol and diesel powertrains. SsangYong has high hopes for the new model, which is forecast to at least double the company's UK sales total. The focus for SsangYong going forward is style, quality and performance.

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