Skip to main content

Korean automaker Ssangyong is considering sales to the U.S. market

Ssangyong Korando
Hyundai and Kia aren’t the only South Korean carmakers. Ssangyong sells an SUV-heavy lineup in Europe and Asia, but not the U.S. That may change soon though, thanks to Brexit.

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has caused Ssangyong to consider selling cars in the U.S., reports Automotive News (subscription required). Ssangyong has discussed U.S. sales before, but now it has added incentive to make that happen. Since the June 23 Brexit vote, the South Korean won has gained more than 16 percent against the pound. That means Ssangyong rakes in less profit from vehicle sales there.

The U.K. accounted for 8.3 percent of Ssangyong’s 2016 global sales through early July, but an anticipated decrease in exports owing to the currency issue has led it to search for an alternative market. The carmaker, which is owned by Indian firm Mahindra, currently has no presence in the U.S., and a very small footprint in China, the world’s largest car market.

Read more: Hyundai’s Ridgeline-punching pickup truck takes shape

In addition to a possible U.S. launch, Ssangyong is reportedly considering building a factory in China to expand its presence there. Local factories have become a necessity for foreign carmakers operating in the country because of high import duties. A new factory wouldn’t be necessary for the U.S., although buyers here may be more demanding than those in China.

The one thing Ssangyong has going for it is that its lineup consists mostly of crossover SUVs, and Americans can’t buy enough of them right now. However, the company has a reputation for odd-looking vehicles that are less refined than those of more established competitors. Ssangyong has primarily relied on low prices to sell cars, putting it in a similar position to Hyundai and Kia in the 1990s, or Mitsubishi today.

Even if Ssangyong could come up with compelling products, establishing a new car brand in the U.S. is not easy. The company would have to recruit a network of dealers, not to mention teach Americans how to pronounce its name. In other words, Ssangyong would have to make a long-term commitment; it took Hyundai, Kia, and Japanese brands like Toyota and Honda decades to establish solid reputations in the U.S.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
We tested the self-driving Mercedes tech so advanced, it’s not allowed in the U.S.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan with Drive Pilot.

You can’t buy a fully self-driving car today -- and may never be able to -- but automakers are looking at ways to shift more of the workload from human drivers to machinery. Mercedes-Benz may have taken the biggest step in that direction yet.

Mercedes claims its Drive Pilot system, which was recently launched in Germany, is the first production system to achieve Level 3 on the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) autonomy scale, meaning the car can fully drive itself with the system active, but a human driver may still need to take over from time to time. It’s still a long way off from autonomous driving, but the Level 3 designation signifies a greater degree of capability than competitor systems.

Read more
Alaska Airlines to offer digital baggage tags in U.S. first
Alaska Airlines' digital baggage tags.

As part of efforts to make its service more efficient, Alaska Airlines is to start offering some of its passengers digital baggage tags in what it claims is a first for U.S carriers.

This means that both Alaska Airlines passengers and check-in staff will no longer have to deal with traditional baggage tags, a move that will save not only paper but also everyone’s valuable time.

Read more
Tesla recalls 130,000 U.S. vehicles over touchscreen safety issue
tesla wants youtube on touchscreens touchscreen

Tesla is recalling 129,960 of its electric cars in the U.S. over an issue with the touchscreen that could result in the device overheating or losing its image.

This is considered a safety issue as the display provides a feed from the rearview camera, as well as settings linked to the vehicle’s windshield defrosters. It also shows if the vehicle is in drive, neutral, or reverse. Tesla said it isn't aware of any crashes, injuries, or deaths linked to the issue.

Read more