Ssangyong adopted its name in 1986 when it was acquired by the Ssangyong Group
New ownership ends long period of uncertainty for Korean manufacturer; plans to shed ‘painful image’
Ssangyong Motor Company has confirmed it will rebrand as KG Mobility under its new owner, the KG Group.
The change was today approved by shareholders, having been announced by new chairman Kwak Jea-sun on 4 January.
He was quoted by the Korea Herald as saying: “The name Ssangyong Motor has a fandom with good memories, but it also has a painful image. From now, all Ssangyong cars will come out to the world under the name of KG.”
The name change is subject to shareholders’ approval at a general meeting in March.
The Korean manufacturer was purchased by KG for 950 billion won (£620 million) in August 2022, ending nearly two years of uncertainty.
Ssangyong had filed for receivership – volunteering for a dramatic restructuring overseen by the Korean courts – in December 2020, after previous owner Mahindra withdrew all investment, having failed to turn the business around in a decade under its wing.
It was almost purchased for £187m by Edison Motors, a nascent Korean company producing electric buses and commercial vehicles, but the deal fell through after Edison failed to meet a payment deadline in March 2022.
The Korea Economic Daily reported after the deal broke down that unionised workers at Ssangyong had opposed the buyout, doubting Edison’s ability to finance the company.
The region’s managing director, Kevin Griffin, today said in a statement that “we will confirm more detail around the impact to the UK in due course”.
The changes don’t affect the forthcoming launch of the Ssangyong Torres EV, the firm’s second electric car.
Sales of the ICE Torres – not bound for the UK – began in South Korea last year.
Ssangyong is Korea’s oldest car manufacturer, founded in 1954. It adopted its current name in 1986 after being acquired by the Ssangyong Group. It was previously known as Ha Dong-Hwan Motor and then Dong-A-Motor.
Producing a series of competitively priced, hardy 4x4s and family cars, Ssangyong has historically struggled to make an impression outside Korea.
According to figures from vehicle registrations tracker Carsalesbase.com, its European sales peaked at 32,840 in 2007. They plunged dramatically during the 2008 financial crisis to 9700 and haven’t surpassed 20,000 since.
Under KG, the company now plans to focus on EV-specific platforms and developing software-defined vehicles, with planned features including autonomous driving and integration of artificial intelligence (AI).
A spokesperson for KG Mobility said: “By focusing on the design and development of future vehicles utilising new technologies such as EV-dedicated platforms, software-defined vehicles, autonomous vehicles and AI etc, the company is really embracing change, and we will grow and develop as a proud and respected future automotive mobility partner.”