Despite being off to a slower than expected start, SsangYong has taken inspiration from the success of Isuzu Ute in Australia.
In 2018, Isuzu achieved its 10th consecutive year of growth just a decade after launching in Australia back in 2008. Isuzu delivered a record 27,640 new vehicles in 2018 to defy the decline across the wider market, making it the 13th best-selling car brand in Australia.
The success of Isuzu provides a template to success through sustainable growth, it’s a remarkable run considering the company only has two model lines in the D-Max and MU-X.
SsangYong Australia is aiming to sell 3000 vehicles in 2019, though this is unlikely to come to fruition with the resurrected brand selling approximately 900 cars so far. Given the current market, it’s no surprise the Musso ute is the company’s strongest performer locally.
New metal in the form of the long-wheelbase Musso XLV, an updated Tivoli and an all-new Korando SUV will no doubt give SsangYong the firepower to broaden its appeal.
The new Korando, which will be here later this year, is looking like a pivotal model as it competes in the desirable medium SUV segment. The Korando is also expected to be SsangYong’s first fully-electric model which is due to launch globally in 2020.
SsangYong is also developing a local suspension tune and a wide range of accessories, both of which are most relevant to the Musso line-up as it chases lifestyle shoppers.
While new models will help the cause, the biggest impediment to SsangYong succeeding locally is its small dealer footprint. At present, the brand has 40 dealers with that number to reach 50 before 2019 is out. For context, Isuzu’s dealer network now numbers 140.
Exposing more buyers to the range is obviously the key, the commercials are unable to showcase the build quality of SsangYong’s cars which is on par with the other Korean manufacturers.
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