SsangYong Motor will change its name to KG Mobility to maximize the carmaker’s strengths in the future, KG Group Chairman Kwak Jea-sun said Wednesday.
“The name -- SsangYong Motor -- has a fandom with good memories, but it also has a painful image,” Kwak said at an event held by the Korea Automobile Journalists Association at Four Seasons Hotel Seoul.
“From now, all SsangYong cars will come out to the world under the name of KG. Even with the name change, SsangYong Motor’s history will not change and (the carmaker) will have the same conditions,” he added.
The carmaker will have to receive approval at a general shareholders meeting in March to change its name to KG officially. Once the change becomes official, it will mark the end of SsangYong Motor’s 35-year-old name.
Kwak, who admitted that the name change was an extremely difficult decision, said there was a need for a complete overhaul, including the brand logo and corporate identity.
“It would be convenient to just take out ‘Motor,’ but we will change everything,” he said.
The new name appears to signal the leadership’s willingness to turn the carmaker into a total mobility firm that extends beyond traditional car manufacturing to electric vehicles and autonomous driving in the future, automotive industry insiders commented.
KG Group, a chemical and steel company, acquired a 61.86 percent stake in SsangYong Motor to become its largest shareholder after Seoul Bankruptcy Court approved the carmaker’s corporate rehabilitation plan in August.
As Korea’s oldest automobile manufacturer, SsangYong Motor first began as Ha Dong-Hwan Motor workshop in 1954. The company used the names of Shinjin Motor and Dong-A Motor between 1967 and 1986. It became SsangYong Motor when the now-defunct SsangYong Group acquired it in 1986.
Since then, the carmaker made its presence felt in the automobile market as its sport utility vehicles -- Korando and Musso -- became popular. SsangYong Motor has had four different owners: Daewoo Group, creditors, China’s state-run Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation and India’s Mahindra Motor. Despite the carmaker’s turbulent ownership history, the company has kept its niche in the SUV market with the well-known lineups of Rexton, Tivoli and Torres.
KG Group’s takeover of SsangYong Motor helped the carmaker complete its court-ordered corporate rehabilitation process that dragged on for about 23 months since December 2020.