SsangYong will rise from the ashes in November 2018, confirming an Australian launch lineup that will cross dual-cab ute plus small, medium and large SUV divides.
The South Korean brand has been absent from local shores for the past two years, when third-party importer Ateco Automotive handled the operations.
However, its return will make SsangYong Australia the first factory-backed operation outside of its domestic market. It has poached Aussies from Chinese upstart Haval’s local outfit, including managing director Tim Smith and public relations manager Andrew Ellis, who moved across in the same roles.
The goal is clearly to match rival Korean car-maker Kia with a seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty; a tactic that has become a powerful tool to smash any lingering misperceptions about the quality of that brand's vehicles.
“We want to offer as many Australians as possible access to our product and give them a level of service that other small OEMs trying to crack in, can’t… the after-sales support of a much bigger brand,” SsangYong Australia boss Tim Smith told us this week.
Smith was most recently Haval Australia’s managing director, and before that led Kia Australia’s dealer network development.