Advance auto zone blog about fast cars and auto trader

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Ssangyong Ramps Up Expansion in Korea and Abroad

SEOUL — Ssangyong Motor, one of South Korea's smallest car companies and a former affiliate of Mercedes-Benz, hopes to improve its fortunes at home and abroad with an injection of capital from Chinese parent Shanghai Auto, which controls 51 percent of Ssangyong.

Ssangyong rextonUnder the direction of Phil Murtaugh, former president of General Motors China and now an executive vice president of SAIC, SUV specialist Ssangyong is planning to expand into passenger cars. Currently, it builds a three-generation-old version of the Mercedes E-Class called the Chairman.

Murtaugh's game plan for Ssangyong calls for the company to boost annual production to 300,000 units a year, plus 30,000 kits, by 2010. The company also reportedly has plans to set up a joint assembly operation in China with SAIC at about the same time.

Murtaugh told the Korean press that Ssangyong aims to pass Daewoo as the third-largest seller in Korea. Daewoo, an affiliate of GM, exports most of the vehicles that it assembles in Korea.

Ssangyong's most recognizable model in Korea is the Rexton, a brawny-looking SUV that is exported around the globe.

Murtaugh said SAIC and Ssangyong are jointly developing 30 new models on five new platforms over the next five years, as well as three gasoline and two diesel engines. Among the new models, he added, Ssangyong plans to launch five new passenger cars in Korea. However, it has no plans to sell SAIC's Roewe 750 sedan, an update of the old Rover 75.

Before SAIC acquired a controlling interest, the Korean automaker had discussed, then abandoned, plans to export its SUVs to the United States.

© Source: article on insideline
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