INJE, Gangwon Province -- Top management of Ssangyong Motor, the South Korean unit of India‘s Mahindra & Mahindra, has recently expressed hope for a turnaround next year, setting the detailed sales target.
"Despite difficulties and challenges ahead in overseas markets, I expect the company will be able to achieve a turnaround next year by selling 170,000 to 180,000 units,’’ said Choi Johng-sik, CEO of Ssangyong Motor focusing on SUVs.
Ssangyong Motor CEO Choi Johng-sik
He made the projection at the launch event for the diesel-version of Tivoli, the company’s best-selling compact SUV, which was held at the Inje Speedium, a motor racing circuit, in Injue, Gangwon Province, on July 6.
The carmaker’s 2016 sales target is a 20 percent increase from the 2015 sales goal, set at 140,000 to 150,000 units.
Behind growing hope for a turnaround is the success of the company’s small SUV, Tivoli, at home for the past six months since the debut in January. It was the company’s first new car released since merging with M&M in 2010.
The Korean press drives Tivoli diesel cars on the road near the Inje Speedium, a motor racing circuit, in Inje, Gangwon Province, on July 6. (Ssangyong Motor)
"With the release of the diesel model (in July), I am confident that Ssangyong will be on track to Tivoli’s 2015 sales target of 60,000 units in the second half of this year," Choi said.
The company has already sold 27,000 gasoline-powered Tivoli vehicles in the first six months of this year.
In its effort to extend the popularity of Tivoli cars, Ssangyong Motor will also debut the long-body version of Tivoli early next year so it can expand sales of its stylish and affordable compact SUV to 100,000 units next year.
The nation‘s smallest carmaker, however, faces several difficulties and challenges to reap profits. Most of all, Choi picked currency deprecation in its key target overseas markets in Europe as the biggest challenge ahead.
For instance, in faltering Russia, one of the company’s main export markets, the ruble fell around 50 percent against the dollar this year.
"As an automaker that has to export completely assembled cars, this is something that hurts our competitiveness in overseas markets," he said.
To lift sales in overseas markets, the SUV carmaker pins its hopes on the diesel model of Tivoli, armed with better fuel economy and dynamism in driving experiences, in comparison with the gasoline model.
Tivoli’s e-XDi160 diesel engine, which meets the toughened Euro 6 emission standards, beats expectations of drivers in that it offers its own edge in driving experience and competitive fuel efficiency, equal to global top players in the small SUV segment.
It can produce a maximum of 115 horsepower and 30.6 kilogram-meters torque, while its fuel efficiency stands at 15.3 kilometers per liter.
In particular, the Tivoli displays maximum torque at a range of 1,500 to 2,500 rounds per minute. By applying the 6-speed automatic transmission of AISIN AW, the car boasts of power driving performance and quality.
The prices of the Tivoli diesel range from 20.45 million won ($18,060) to 24.95 million won depending on options and trim.
By Seo Jee-yeon (email@example.com