SsangYong to Increase Exports to China, Europe


Ssangyong Motor will take advantage of the sales and after-service network of its parent Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC) to increase its shares in the large-car and recreational vehicle (RV) segments in China.

Jiang Zhiwei, an executive of the SAIC and one of the two presidents of the fourth largest automaker in South Korea, said on Wednesday Ssangyong has successfully completed the restructuring process following the Asian financial crisis, and is now ready to become a top automaker in Asia.

``The SAIC will fully back Ssangyong's efforts to advance into China and other overseas markets. We are willing to provide Ssangyong with more opportunities,'' Jiang said during a news conference at the Westin Chosun Hotel in central Seoul. Jiang has been appointed head of Ssangyong along with its Korean CEO Soh Jin-kwan after the Chinese carmaker took over the firm last year.

``Ssangyong will have a double-president system for the time being because we must maintain a close partnership,'' Jiang said. ``Soh and I will play divided roles to make Ssangyong one of the top automakers. The whole operation of Ssangyong in South Korea will be controlled by Soh, while the SAIC will support its advance into China.''

Ssangyong, which chiefly manufactures luxury sedans and sports utility vehicles, ended debt management programs in January, five years after it fell into a financial turmoil. In October last year, the SAIC acquired the automaker after purchasing a controlling 48.9 percent stake for $523 million.

In response to concerns in South Korea that the SAIC bought Ssangyong at a too low price, Jiang said the deal is now over, and it is not necessary to talk about the issue.

``The most important thing for us now is to seek ways of unifying and increasing competitiveness. It is old hat to talk about whether the price was good or not.''

Soh said Ssangyong will invest more than 400 billion won this year to harness its sales and marketing network and production line-ups in Pyongtaek and engine plant in Changwon. The firm plans to release the next-generation of Musso and Korando, its popular SUVs, in South Korea and China later this year.

``For now, we are focusing on China and Europe to increase out exports,'' Soh said. ``We aim to increase the ratio of exports to about 50 percent of sales turnover.''


- Source from The Korea Times (Mar 02, 2005) -