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Car and Driver: Launch Loggerheads: SsangYong to Head Stateside? Mahindra Not So Sure


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SsangYong SIV-2 Concept


Seems as if the wheels of confusion are spinning at Mahindra & Mahindra. While SsangYong Motor CEO Choi Johng-sik would like to see the brand enter the U.S. market in late 2019 with the production version of its SIV-2 concept crossover [rendered above], the brand’s overseers in India aren’t convinced that it’s the proper moment for such a move.


According to a report from Reuters, Choi would like to see the company begin selling vehicles here—under an as-yet-to-be-announced brand name—right around the turn of the decade, targeting the end of 2019 or early 2020 for an American launch. Mahindra’s Executive Director, Pawan Goenka, doesn’t seem quite so bullish on such a play, saying that the plan was “somewhat on the back burner,” and that priority is to begin building Ssangyong’s vehicles in China.


Russia has traditionally been a strong market for SsangYong, but slumping sales in the Eurasian nation and a near-death experience in 2011 (which resulted in Mahindra’s acquisition of the brand) have convinced leadership that new markets are essential to the number-four Korean automaker’s long-term viability.


The U.S., of course, is a tough market to break into; the last time a Korean company tried, bits of Nubiras and Lanoses wound up littering self-service wrecking yards, and SsangYong’s former parent, Daewoo, had its automotive assets scooped up by General Motors. Still, whenever SsangYong’s attempted entry to our market comes, we’re a bit disappointed that it will apparently be under a new name, as we were anxiously awaiting commercials featuring a Jack Hues-soundalike imploring everybody to have fun tonight, and noting that everybody should, as a matter of course, SsangYong tonight.


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