SsangYong set for a rebrand

 

Current News Topics: Most news articles are from the start of 2014

 

Mahindra & Mahindra Limited (M&M) has revealed that they are in the final stages of rebranding SsangYong, three years after acquiring the South Korean automaker. Pawan Goenka, newly-appointed Executive Director of M&M, explains the reasoning behind the decision in an exclusive interview; “We are currently looking at whether we need to rebrand SsangYong in the long-term globally, including in Korea. SsangYong came out of a business conglomerate, which does not exist anymore. It has a lot of negative connotations, due to the history of strikes and poor financing performance.”  Market research is still underway to find a new name for the company. [1]

(To watch a clip online of Goenka’s exclusive interview with CNBC, click on the link from reference [1])

Rumours that have been circulating are that the new brand name will be a complete change from the current ‘SsangYong’, deemed as difficult to both spell and pronounce correctly. [2]

One has to think that SsangYong have realised that their success for the long term is to push its brand into the global market into areas such as the United States and the United Kingdom where SsangYong sales of the past have been quite poor.

Current speculation is that creative agency Strawberry Frog, based in New York, have been recruited by M&M to handle the SsangYong re-branding plan. [3]

Other news that has been circulating recently is plans to move SsangYong into the ‘luxury’ brand segment, as the company achieved record sales in 2013 under its new management. [4]

This is a very bold move for SsangYong as the company has only the Chairman within this market segment. If SsangYong are to challenge the brand leaders of this market segment with their SUV’s then they are competing in a very dangerous market dominated by Range Rover who have just recently experienced record sales and the two German Powerhouses, Mercedes and BMW who continue to nip at the heels of the Luxury British brand.

A $1 billion investment is lined up as part of the strategy to crack US and Asian markets. Currently operating from just the one assembly plant and a single engine factory, the CEO of SsangYongLee Yoo-il, says the company will consider building cars from the US if sales reach reasonable figures. There are also plans to develop numerous new models, with the ambition from 2015 to launch a new model every year thereon. The 60 year old company is even reviewing suppliers, and developing its engine technology. According to Ashvin Chotai, head of Intelligence Automotive Asia, “Everybody wrote off SsangYong a few years ago … (but) Mahindra has done a pretty incredible job turning it around”. And it is clear that there plenty more changes to come. [5]

It is exciting to see a brand like SsangYong who have recovered from its lowest point during the global economic crisis to become this newly rejuvenated brand with ambitious plans to become a major player within the automotive industry.

By Parvinder Perry Singh

 

References

[1] Moneycontrol, http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/cnbc-tv18-comments/mahindra-to-rebrand-ssangyong-quotes-negative-connotations_1021847.html?utm_source=ref_article

[2] Indian Drives, http://www.indiandrives.com/mahindra-to-rebrand-ssangyong.html

[3] Mahindra Cars India, http://www.mahindracarsindia.com/2014/01/mahindra-wishes-to-go-premium-and-rebrand-ssangyong.html

[4] The Financial Express, http://www.financialexpress.com/news/m-m-eyes-premium-tag-for-mahindra-brand-luxury-for-ssangyong/1217457

[5] Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/11/us-autos-korea-ssangyong-idUSBRE9BA17420131211

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