Published on July 1st, 2021 | by Subhash Nair0
Bankruptcy Court Allows SsangYong To Be Sold Off
What’s the highest amount anyone would pay for the SsangYong Motor brand?
While Korean brands Hyundai and Kia are making waves with their extremely competitive and attractive vehicles, not all is well for the its brother, SsangYong. Just like Daewoo, SsangYong has fallen into extreme debt. This time, its Indian owners Mahindra & Mahindra are refusing to reinvest. The South Korean government too has denied their request for a bailout. So, the solution has been provided by the Seoul Bankruptcy Court: SsangYong will be sold off to the highest bidder.
SsangYong had taken a huge 165 billion won (605 million Ringgit) loan from Korea Development Bank prior to the pandemic. After experiencing a huge dip in sales, it was unable to pay this back and filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2020.
Currently, Mahindra & Mahindra owns a 75% stake in the company. No new prospects have been named. Bids for the company are being taken now and potential suitors have until the end of July 2021 to submit their letter of intent. The list of bids will be reviewed in August. It is estimated that the deal will not be finalised until November or December of this year at the earliest.
There are plenty of potential owners out there, but perhaps we can rule some of them out. GM, for one, already dabbled with its own Korean experiment when it took over Daewoo. That project didn’t work out in the long-run. Perhaps the newly formed Stellantis will want to try their hand. But then again, Stellantis already has the Jeep brand to rely on for ladder chassis SUVs and off-road technology to use throughout the group. Maybe we can rule them out as well.
Since Hyundai and Kia are clearly moving towards a fully-electrified portfolio, SsangYong could be an inexpensive way for them to continue to serve niche markets where diesel and gasoline will continue to be in demand. There’s a possibility there.
We know that Apple have been looking for an auto partner to start their own car division for years. They have talked to Nissan, Hyundai and Kia, but apparently those talks fell through when none of the car companies entertained the idea of creating bespoke production to Apple’s exacting standards. They were all more or less looking to badge engineer something for Apple instead. Perhaps acquiring the SsangYong brand just for their facilities and carmaking know-how will be something Apple might look into. They could throw out the entire existing model line-up and even scrap the brand’s dealerships, focusing on their manufacturing prowess to build Apple’s own cars exactly how they intend them to be.
However, that too seems unlikely. Even when Apple makes their extremely profitable smartphones, tablets and computers, they usually leave it to third-party suppliers to sort out manufacturing. This is probably why one of its largest vendors decided to partner up with Geely to offer contract EV manufacturing services.
SsangYong’s Portfolio Today
SsangYong itself has a few products on its shelf. There’s the Tivoli, a compact crossover with modern, turbocharged engines, advanced driver assist systems and handsome looks.
For those looking for something a little larger, there’s the Korando. The Korando is the longest surviving car nameplate in Korea, but it has been evolved over time and is now in its 4th generation. For those looking for a larger passenger SUV, the Rexton continues to offer something competitive. There’s also the Musso, which now serves as the company’s twin cab pick-up truck.
SsangYong also has a few new planned projects that may entice a new owner. Amongst those is its first battery-electric vehicle, the Korando e-Motion.