The SsangYong name has been dropped in another market, but it looks to be safe in Australia for now.
Effective immediately the brand will now be referred to as KGM Motors UK, or KGM for short. It has also adopted a new tagline, “Go Different. KGM”.
The announcement was made overnight, however the SsangYong name will live on in Australia.
“We continue as SsangYong Australia for the foreseeable future with no plans to rebrand at this stage,” a spokesperson from SsangYong Australia told CarExpert.
KGM Motors UK says it will keep its well-known wing logo as it “pays homage to KGM’s heritage since 1954”. It will however change from its white and blue colours to white and black.
“KGM Global has changed its name for the first time in 35 years as it transforms into a brand for the future,” said Kevin Griffin, managing director of KGM Motors UK.
“We have embraced the change here in the UK and we will continue to grow as a proud and respected SUV and pick-up truck brand.”
In January this year, the company formerly known as SsangYong announced it would rebrand as KG Mobility in Korea.
“We have decided to go for a new name to fully utilise the strength of SsangYong Motor,” said then chairman of SsangYong and the KG Group Kwak Jae-sun.
“Under the name of SsangYong, the company has a fandom but also has a painful image.
“The new cars will come out as KG, but its car-making history will never change and have the same conditions.”
The name change was later approved in March.
SsangYong had been under court receivership since April 2021 as its former parent company Mahindra & Mahindra failed to find a new investor amid the pandemic and financial problems.
Acquired by Daewoo in 1997, its new corporate parent then ran into financial troubles and was forced to offload SsangYong in 2000.
In 2004, SAIC Motor acquired 51 per cent but walked away in 2009, which saw SsangYong go into receivership.
Mahindra & Mahindra acquired SsangYong in 2011, obtaining a controlling stake of 70 per cent for 523 billion won (A$594 million). But it, too, walked away in 2020, leaving SsangYong in receivership and searching for a new owner.
After a failed acquisition by bus manufacturer Edison Motors, in 2022 the KG Group saved SsangYong from liquidation.
In January 2023, the ute and SUV manufacturer reported its first quarterly operating profit since 2016.
Operating losses also shrunk from 260.7 billion won (A$304 million) to 117.5 billion won (A$137 million), a reduction of 54.9 per cent. Globally, SsangYong’s sales were up 35 per cent from 84,496 to 113,960 units.
Sales in Korea were up by 50 per cent, attributed to demand for the new Torres SUV that’s set to reach Australian shores sometime next year.
The carmaker is preparing to launch an all-electric version of this, called the Torres EVX. The electric SUV is yet to be confirmed by the brand’s local division but is on its radar.
The KG Mobility Torres EVX is available in two trim levels in South Korea, with both of them powered by a single electric motor producing 150kW of power and a 73.4kWh LFP battery. Claimed WLTP range is 500km.
The combustion-powered Torres on the other hand is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 125kW and 280Nm. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.