A CONSORTIUM led by South Korean electric vehicle manufacturer Edison Motors has finalised its purchase of SsangYong Motor for the bargain price of ₩305 billion ($A354.8 million).
The court-led sale of debt-ridden SsangYong Motor stipulates that a credible business plan must be implemented to rehabilitate the ailing brand and Edison Motor will contribute ₩50 billion ($A58.1 million) in operating capital to help the Korean manufacturer stay afloat.
The remainder of the acquisition money will be spent to repay some of the manufacturer’s debt to financial institutions, including SsangYong’s largest creditor – the Korean Development Bank.
SsangYong Motor will remain under court receivership until such time as the court approves Edison Motor’s rehabilitation plans and a 66 per cent majority of creditors accept the new owner’s proposed business plan. That plan must be submitted to the court by March 1.
A South Korean regulatory filing shows that SsangYong vehicle sales fell by 21 per cent to just 84,496 units in 2021. SsangYong reported an operating loss of ₩238 billion ($A276.8 million) between January and September last year from revenue of ₩1.8 trillion ($A2.09 billion).
SsangYong Motor has been under court receivership since April 2021 after majority owner Mahindra and Mahindra failed to secure a buyer. The Indian company purchased a 75 per cent stake in SsangYong in 2010.
Australian sales of SsangYong vehicles remained slow with a total of 2978 units sold (for 0.3 per cent market share) in 2021. The majority of the brand’s local sales were made up of the Musso ute (1883 units) and the rest were Rexton and Korando SUV derivatives (742 and 353 units).
An updated version of the Musso (pictured) is expected in showrooms in March replete with performance upgrades, electrically-assisted steering, and a suite of new safety features.
The 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine found under the bonnet of the Musso will now output 149kW/441Nm, up from 133kW/420Nm previously. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions will continue to be offered alongside two- and four-wheel drive configurations.
Local pricing and full specifications will be announced closer to the model’s launch. The current SsangYong Musso range is priced from $34,990 to $41,290 drive-away.