Indian automaker Mahindra could enter the North American passenger car market with the Ssangyong brand. Ssangyong is a South Korean SUV brand that Mahindra acquired a few years ago. The Ssangyong brand sells a range of SUVs and pick up trucks. Some of these are expected to be launched in the North American market. Mahindra has set-up a production facility at Detroit, and will initially manufacture off road vehicles from thae factory. Later on, this factory could be used to produce Ssangyong SUVs as well.
Anand Mahindra, the Chairman of the automaker, has made the following statements,
In automotive, as you know, we own Ssangyong motors and the advantage of possibly exploring an American entry through them is that the American consumer by now has developed great respect for the Korean automotive brand thanks to Hyundai and Kia. So, they have done all the hard work, now when a third Korean brand comes in here, there will be not be resistance and skepticism. It will simply be tested out as yet another Korean product. So, there is a strong logic for Ssangyong to look in. So that could be another point of entry for the on- road piece.
However, Mr. Mahindra also clarified that the Ssangyong board was still deliberating about the SUV maker’s North American entry, and no decision had been taken yet.
Nothing yet, the board is still deliberating it in Korea. But they are definitely exploring. A Korean brand should be an obvious one and the world is moving to SUVs. Ssangyong like Mahindra in Korea is a specialist SUV maker. So it is seen as niche. As you know now more and more of the world’s cars are becoming SUVs. The move to SUVs is a very, very strong shift everywhere. Biggest profit makers in America for large companies here are SUVs. So this (US) is a very, very important market to come into if we can.
From the above statements, it is pretty clear that Mr. Mahindra has dropped several hints about the Ssangyong brand being suitable for the US market. With the company now also running a factory in Detroit, it is likely that the Ssangyong range of vehicles would be produced there for the US market.