Thursday 30 September 2010

SsangYong Korando platform to underpin two new models

SsangYong is working on two new models that will enter the B and D segments as part of a three-year plan to pull the South Korean company out of its £200m debt. The three-year plan lies with Mahindra and Mahindra, who are in concluding stages of purchasing a large share of SsangYong.

Vice president of marketing, Johng-Sik Choi, said that “We want to be working at maximum output, which is producing 250,000 cars globally per year – the new Korando should account for 100,000 of those. To do that we intend to enter growing markets such as Russia, China and South America, and we will expand our model range with cars built on our new monocoque platform.”

The all-new Korando compact SUV uses a SsangYong first monocoque platform. This chassis will be used on the B-segment (think VW Polo, Vauxhall/Opel Corsa, Renault Clio, Peugeot 207/Citroen C3, Nissan Micra) and D-segment (Renault Laguna, Ford Mondeo, Toyota Avensis, Chevrolet Epica) cars. The former is set to be launched in 2012.

A compact petrol engine will be the main engine in the B-segment car, but according to Soo Won Lee, chief of research and design, “an electric-diesel range extender similar to that used in the Chevrolet Volt could be piloted in 2014”.

The larger D-segment car will use an updated version of the 173bhp 2.0 common-rail diesel engine in the Korando. For the moment, the Rodius large MPV and Kyron mid-sized SUV are likely to obtain revisions, including the new diesel engine, while the Rexton will be axed.

Mahindra’s association in SsangYong’s future is vital for the company’s existence, and the two companies will be related closely.

“It would make sense for us to platform share,” said Choi, “and it is possible that Korando may enter India badged Mahindra in the near future, though nothing will be confirmed until we have signed the contract in November this year.”

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