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Frankfurt show: SsangYong to show ute, concepts

Around the corner: The SsangYong SUT1 has been confirmed for Australia and will arrive in local showrooms to replace the Actyon Sports in the first half of 2012.

Korea’s SsangYong set to roll out concepts and production SUT1 ute at show

21 Jul 2011

BORN-again South Korean motor company SsangYong Motor will open a window on its future at the Frankfurt motor show in September when it pulls the covers from a number of concept cars and the production version of its new-generation ute to replace the Actyon Sports, codenamed SUT1.

The concepts are likely to include more Korando-based models, including another electric concept, and possibly a five-seat range-extender hybrid vehicle smaller than the Korando – as mooted by the company at the Geneva motor show in March.

Although nothing is confirmed, other show candidates might be a big brother for the Korando, a medium SUV codenamed D200 that is destined to replace both the Rexton and Kyron in 2013, a range of small hatchback and sedan passenger cars – possibly based on the same architecture as the range-extender hybrid car – or even a full-sized 4WD to compete with the Toyota LandCruiser.

All of the above vehicles are known to have been floating around the SsangYong future-model holding pen awaiting a decision by new owner Mahindra and Mahindra since the Indian company rescued the bankrupt Korean manufacturer by acquiring a 70 per cent stake in March this year.

Only the SUT1 ute has been confirmed for Australia, with SsangYong importer Sime Darby telling GoAuto that it would arrive in local showrooms to replace the Actyon Sports in the first quarter of 2012.

The dual-cab five-seat SUT1 – standing for Sports Utility Truck – will join a raft of new and revised entrants in the Australian ute market, including a flock of Chinese-made contenders from manufacturers such as ZXAuto and Foton.

A number of names are said to be under consideration for the new ute, which Sime Darby says will not only have a new diesel powertrain but deliver a much improved driving experience.

28 center imageLeft: SsangYong Korando. Below: SsangYong KEV2.

The SUT1 was revealed in concept form at Geneva, with SsangYong confirming that the new vehicle would retain the rugged body-on-frame construction of the Actyon Sports but gain the Korando’s new 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual and automatic transmissions – the latter designed and made by Australia’s Drivetrain Systems International (DSI).

The Euro-5 compliant common-rail diesel engine will be retuned for the SUT1 to deliver more of its 360Nm of peak torque lower in the rev range, at the expense of top-end power, down from 129kW in the Korando to 114kW in the SUT1.

However, this is still an improvement over the 104kW/310Nm of the current diesel in the Actyon.

Also improved will be the ute’s environmental footprint, with CO2 emissions down from 212 grams per kilometre to 193g/km in 2WD manual form. The new 4WD variant is said to achieve about 198g/km.

News of the Frankfurt new-model push by SsangYong this year surfaced in a media release announcing a new UK distributor for the brand, Bassadone Automotive Group.

The new importer said it expected SsangYong to use Frankfurt to “showcase a number of new-model concepts, while SUT1, the sports utility pick up shown in concept form at Geneva will also be seen in market ready form”.

It added: “In addition to the current model line up, SsangYong is actively working on a number of new products, including range extensions to Korando as well as an electric vehicle. The first of these will be seen at the Frankfurt motor show in September.” SsangYong has already shown two electric vehicles based on the Korando at South Korean motor shows – the Pure EV at the 2010 Busan motor show and the KEV2 at the 2011 Seoul show in April.

The KEV2 featured a 120kW electric motor, a 180km driving range from the 35kWh lithium-ion battery pack, a top speed of 150km/h and an overall weight of 1750kg.

SsangYong claims the normal charging time via a conventional electricity supply is eight hours, or as little as 30 minutes using a higher-voltage rapid-charge outlet.

The range-extender vehicle mentioned at Geneva will combine an unspecified internal combustion engine with an 80kW electric motor and 16kWh lithium-ion battery for a 60km range on electricity or 400km using the engine as well.

So far this year, SsangYong has sold 770 vehicles in Australia, up 29.2 per cent on the first half of 2010, thanks to the arrival this year of the new Korando which has added 240 units to date at an average of about 50 a month.

However, the Actyon Sports ute remains the company’s number-one seller in Australia, with 315 sales in the six months of 2011.

While SsangYong sales have lifted and should easily eclipse 2010’s 1119 units, the current running rate is still well short of the 2600-2800 vehicle target for 2011 set earlier this year.

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