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Ssangyong Motor to release flagship sedan in China

HONG KONG (Yonhap News) ― South Korea’s smallest automaker Ssangyong Motor Co. said Tuesday it will unveil its flagship luxury sedan for the first time in China in an effort to expand its presence in the world’s No. 1 auto market.

The Chairman W will be showcased at the ninth annual Guangzhou International Motor Show, which is set to kick off on Nov. 22 for a seven-day run in the southern Chinese city.

Ssangyong Motor, the Korean unit of the Indian sport utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., unveiled the newest version of the Chairman luxury sedan in South Korea in July.

In September this year, Ssangyong re-entered China with its new sport utility vehicle after a two-year absence. In 2006, Ssangyong began exporting SUVs to China, but shipments were halted after the automaker was placed under court bankruptcy protection in February 2009.

Ssangyong said it aims to tap into China’s growing luxury car segment with its largest sedan.

China saw about 500,000 high-end cars sold last year. Market experts expect the size of the segment could easily double in the next five years.

Global luxury carmakers are rushing into China in a bid to sell to that country’s new rich. One out of 1,400 Chinese is estimated to be a millionaire as China’s robust economic growth has boosted the number of affluent people in the country.

The number of millionaires in China reached 960,000 as of the end of 2010, up 9.7 percent from a year earlier, according to “Wealth Report 2011” by the Shanghai-based publisher Hunan Report Inc.