SsangYong, one of South Korea’s biggest and oldest car companies, has filed for bankruptcy. For the Korean automaker, this isn’t its first brush with bankruptcy. About a decade ago, it was in deep financial trouble when Mahindra came in and purchased a majority stake, saving the drowning company. SsangYong eventually hit a dead-end with the global pandemic hitting it hard, combined with dwindling sales and rising competition. In fact, the company defaulted on massive loans that were lent to it by a global consortium of banks. Unable to pay its 60 billion Won (approximately 400 crore Rupees) debt within the specified deadline, and Mahindra not injecting anymore funds, SsangYong had no option but to throw in the towels.
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SsangYong has applied for court receivership in South Korea, commonly known as autonomous restructuring support or ARS. From now on, pretty much all of its fate lies in the hands of the court. Mahindra was intending on injecting fresh money into the flailing brand but backed just as Covid-19 hit. The Indian automaker is now trying to sell its majority stake in SsangYong, though finding a buyer for the right price could prove tricky. SsangYong entered the Indian market with the Rexton SUV back in 2012. Unfortunately, the Rexton never found enough takers in our market as its brand identity wasn’t known to most people. At the same time, other Korean brands like Hyundai and Kia grew exponentially all over the world.
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In our market, SsangYong was able to sell the G4 Rexton as the Mahindra Alturas G4 and the Tivoli as the Mahindra XUV300. Of these, the Tivoli underwent a few important changes to make it more compatible for India. Meanwhile, the G4 Rexton only had its badges changed to reflect its Indian stakeholder’s name and associated branding. Speaking of which, the Mahindra Alturas G4 has a 2.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that makes about 178hp and 420Nm. It drives all four wheels via a 7-speed automatic gearbox. As for the smaller XUV300, it comes with two engine & gearbox options in India. In its turbo-diesel guise, the XUV300 gets a 115hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.
Meanwhile, the turbo-petrol version comes with a 108hp 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine. This unit develops 200Nm of torque and uses a 6-speed manual transmission. Being based on the SsangYong Tivoli, the XUV300 also boasts a perfect 5-star Global NCAP safety rating. There was a facelifted SsangYong Rexton in the works, but with the carmaker going bankrupt, that car might never see the light of day. Mahindra hasn’t yet commented on the repercussions of the SsangYong brand’s collapse, though its operations in India may not be affected at all.
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