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Ssangyong Motor seeks new leap forward

Ssangyong Motor CEO Lee Yoo-il pledged to shake up the competition in the local luxury sedan market long dominated by Hyundai and foreign rivals at the unveiling of its newest Chairman at the Seoul Motor Show on Thursday.

“In the large sedan segment where competition with imported carmakers is fierce, I believe the Chairman W Summit will become a game-changer,” he said, introducing the model. He set this year’s sales target for the new Chairman at about 500 vehicles.

The Chairman W Summit, which goes on sale from Monday, is the latest, upgraded version of the carmaker’s flagship limousine Chairman. Aiming to regain its heyday glory, the new sedan promises to be both an optimum mobile office and a resting space for its VVIP passengers. 
The Chairman W Summit
The Chairman W Summit

Ssangyong has put more emphasis on the two-man backseats equipped with high-end features such as a motor-operated leg rest and a footrest, headrest and pillows.

Adding to the luxurious ambiance is premium leather from Scotland’s Bridge of Weir, which provides high-quality, low-carbon leather to global car brands such as Range Rover and Lincoln. The Summit is the first Korean vehicle to use the company’s leather.

Ssangyong, a leading SUV maker in Korea whose new Korando series have recently been gaining sales momentum both in Korea and abroad, also unveiled its new premium large SUV concept, the LIV-1, which stands for “Limitless Interface Vehicle.”

The new concept with a bold, masculine styling, the carmaker said, aims to better communicate with the driver as it can be remote-controlled via any of the driver’s mobile devices.

“The LIV-1 concept is a new strategic model targeting global markets together with other compact SUVs under development,” the CEO said.

Lee hinted that the company would diversify SUV lineups, introducing a compact SUV that is also more environment-friendly, pledging to preempt toughened environmental regulations.

He also expressed satisfaction with the strategic alliance with India’s Mahindra Group, saying: “Since our alliance, we have seen clear progress both in the company’s car sales and innovation.”

Mahindra & Mahindra, the majority shareholder of Ssangyong, recently approved a plan for investing 80 billion won ($75 million) in the carmaker.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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