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SsangYong expands to Australia

Automaker is betting big on growing SUV demand Down Under
July 24,2018
SsangYong Motor will establish its first overseas sales unit in Australia in November to take advantage of rising demand for SUVs there, the carmaker said Monday.

The establishment of its first overseas sales unit will serve as a stepping stone for SsangYong Motor to further fortify its global sales, the carmaker said.

SsangYong Motor, the Korean unit of Indian auto giant Mahindra & Mahindra, sold its cars in other countries before through partnerships with local dealerships. It has never operated its own sales unit outside of Korea before.

“The Australian sales unit will be SsangYong Motor’s first overseas sales unit to be directly managed by the carmaker,” said CEO Choi Johng-sik in a written statement released on Monday. “It will help us to be more flexible in handling the local market, such as the marketing strategy.”

SsangYong Motor currently exports cars to Europe, South America and the Middle East.

Chile was the biggest export market for SsangYong Motor last year.

When the Australian unit opens in November, SsangYong Motor is expected to launch a full range of models, including the Tivoli, G4 Rexton and Rexton Sports. SsangYong Motor said it hopes to eventually run 60 directly managed dealerships in Australia.

SsangYong Motor stopped selling its cars in Australia in 2016. It had previously been selling vehicles to local dealerships.

Its decision to resume sales is due to the sharp growth in Australian SUV sales. According to the carmaker, sales of SUVs accounted for 18 percent of vehicle sales in Australia in 2006, but they expanded to 39 percent last year. Sales of pick-up trucks, which SsangYong Motor also sells, rose by 70,000 vehicles during the same period.

The unique Australian automobile market, which is completely reliant on imported vehicles, also factored into SsangYong’s decision to launch an overseas sales subsidiary.

“While countries that have a homegrown brand tend to be hard to penetrate, Australia doesn’t have their own marque, which is why we thought the brand would have a better chance,” a SsangYong Motor official said.

After launching its existing models, SsangYong Motor said it will continue to launch new models in Australia to secure its position in the market.


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]