Yobosayo Ssangyong! Welcome to India
Ashwin Ram N P, Ashwin is a guy with a slightly unorthodox perception of everything. His struggle to choose a career path, between art and automotive engineering, has landed him in the field of auto journalism, where he has paved way for himself to practise both.
Mahindra has confirmed the debut of the Ssangyong brand in India on the 17th of October.
This is the same day Tata Motors will launch the Safari Storme on, so its game on!
The Ssangyong Rexton will be the torch bearer, positioned just above the XUV500. The national launch of this Fortuner-rivaling SUV will be held in Mumbai on 17th October, followed by regional launches in New Delhi and Bangalore, and subsequently by other markets. The company embraced the same strategy during the launch of the XUV500.
The Rexton was brought to the Delhi Auto Expo this year, but the model launching in India (remains unverified) is the facelifted edition launched in Korea in May. The show car was powered by a 2.7-liter diesel engine, but since then, changes have appeared to its mechanical package through the introduction of an all-new 2-liter diesel that makes 154bhp/367Nm leading to some questions.
A bi-turbo version of this engine with 200bhp/500Nm outputs is undergoing development.
The 2L diesel engine returns a fuel efficiency of 13.7 km/l (2WD A/T) in the South Korean assessments, which amounts to an improvement of about 20% as compared to the 2.7-liter unit. It is mated to a Mercedes-sourced 5-speed automatic transmission. We hope this engine is offered in India, as fuel economy is very important even at this end of the market.
The Rexton, based on an old Mercedes ML Class, maybe an outdated product with freshened exterior, but its still going strong in many of the 66 markets that it is sold around the world.
Mahindra feels that the vehicle's styling, interior and handling off-road will win many customers. This is in addition to the appeal that diesel-powered SUVs enjoy in India.
Mahindra has to launch the vehicle with the very latest in cosmetic and mechanical packages as the competition, that will quickly populate with European models, will otherwise swallow the age-old Korean SUV for breakfast.
There is no official version on the retail strategy but for a start, the Rexton can reach customers through Mahindra dealerships, and once a lineup is brought down, they can invite investors for independent Ssangyong dealerships.
We wish the Ssangyong brand and the team behind it, all the very best!