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New SsangYongs to double sales

Future: SsangYong's XIV-2 concept at Geneva motor show gives a glimpse of the Korean company's next generation.

SsangYong plans sales lift on the back of new ute, people-mover and petrol Korando

27 Mar 2012

SSANGYONG is confident its new Actyon Sports ute and fleshed-out Korando crossover range will almost double its Australian sales to about 3000 vehicles this year, before a new Stavic people-mover arrives here in April 2013.

Last year the Korean company sold 1606 vehicles in Australia – up from 1119 in 2010 – with the bulk of the increase being Korando sales, of which 623 units were sold after its February release.

At that time, SsangYong projected 2000 to 2500 sales for 2011, but Australian general manager Jeff Barber said this week that the unexpected delay in getting its vital automatic Korando – which arrived in August last year – prevented the expected boost in sales.

Mr Barber said last week that will change in 2012, thanks to the new Actyon Sports one-tonner and more variants of the Korando compact SUV.

While the reskinned Actyon Sports ute has just arrived, new petrol manual versions of the Korando will go on sale here in the third quarter, with the auto version to follow in the fourth quarter.

Also slated for local dealers in quarter three is a minor facelift for the Korean brand’s mid-size SUV, the Rexton.

 center imageFrom top: SsangYong XIV-2 concept, Actyon Sport and Korando.

Mr Barber said the brand’s prospects for 2012 “should be a whole lot better than last year”.

“Korando sales are already up to 60 sales per month. We’re doing 2011-plate Korando (discounts) – we’ll do more than 100 of those this month.

“And the new ute will bolster the numbers substantially we’ll probably do twice the number of utes we did in the past.

“So, when you think of a run rate of 250 a month, it’ll be about 120 Actyon Sports utes, 100 Korandos and about 30 of the rest – the Kyron, Rexton and Stavic.” Production of the heavily facelifted Stavic starts in Korea in February or March next year and Mr Barber said the revised people-mover range would go on sale here by the end of April, 2013.

Mr Barber said the Stavic will undergo similar changes to this month’s new-look Actyon Sports ute.

“I understand it’s substantially changed. If you’re looking for a parallel, if you look at the old versus new ute, it is a major facelift. There are a number of exterior changes, interior changes, driveline changes and so forth.” The revised Stavic will come with the same 2.0-litre turbo-diesel powertrain as used in the Korando and Actyon Sports ute.

SsangYong already had plenty of other fresh product on the drawing board when Indian conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra took over the company last year, including a new Toyota LandCruiser 200-size SUV, a replacement for both the Rexton and Kyron, and two all-new small models, but Mr Barber said none had been confirmed for production yet.

“Most of the plans were shelved with the trouble they had, and at this stage I think they still want to figure out what Mahindra want to build as a long-term product.” Mr Barber said the sub-compact SUV XIV-2 concept shown at last month’s Geneva motor show was the best indication of the company’s future product intentions, but did not know how close to production the concept was.

SsangYong has had a difficult past, with a succession of owners since the late-1990s, each having trouble keeping the company afloat.

Last year Chinese auto-maker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) gave up its stewardship of the Korean concern after violent confrontations with assembly workers over proposed workforce cuts, and the company was subsequently sold to current owner Mahindra.

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