Ssangyong returns to Australia with new dual-cab ute
SSANGYONG has confirmed it will return to Australia late in 2018 after previous failures.
The Musso dual-cab ute will spearhead the Korean brand's return and will be joined by the Tivoli and Rexton SUVs.
Power for the Musso comes from a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel (133kW/420Nm), matched to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission turning all four wheels.
The workhorse is capable of towing 3.5 tonnes and carrying a one-tonne payload.
In the UK, Ssangyong backs its products with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty - which if applied to Australia would join the segment benchmark guarantee recently announced by Ford and Holden.
Complementing the dual-cab is the Rexton large off-roader. Built on the same underpinnings as the Musso, the Rexton will fit a similar profile to the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Everest, which fit a wagon body on a ute frame.
The third model in the maker's Australian plan is the Tivoli compact SUV. If it follows the same pricing model as overseas markets, it will undercut all competitors with a list price well below $20,000.
Ssangyong has not revealed too many details about its Australian relaunch but has said autonomous emergency braking and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be used extensively throughout the range.
It plans to expand the range in 2019 with the mid-size Korando SUV that was previously sold in Australia.
However, Ssangyong will have to overcome its poor reputation in Australia, following past failures to crack the local new car market. The brand was known more for its awkward styling than its on-road prowess.
The maker is now jumping into the most competitive new car market in the country. The perennial favourite utes - the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger - dominate the top end of the market while new cut-price Chinese players such as LDV and Great Wall struggle for sales.
Booming SUV sales are dominated by the longstanding badges. Cheaper alternatives are failing to become a feature on local roads as buyers head for known brands with a history of reliability.
Initial reports are optimistic but the rebound Korean brand brand faces an uphill battle to gain permanent status. Cheap alternatives unburdened by a poor reputation have already piqued buyer interest.