SsangYong needs to address its weaknesses and build on its strengths to become a major automotive player
For many years SsangYong was considered a brand with no future after its collapse to the global economic crisis, it was heavily weakened and eventually fell into rock bottom.
However, SsangYong had found strength in the form of its acquisition by Indian conglomerate, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited in 2011. The affect of this acquisition has been astounding in terms of global sales for SsangYong.
For many years SsangYong was weak in the sales department having little or no impact in major car markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom.
However, 2013 saw SsangYong have its best yearly sales ever since 2002, and the growth of its sales has been increasing dramatically with global sales increasing by 20.7% from 2012. It was quoted on the SsangYong website that, “Our 2013 target has been set much more aggressively and we aim to sell at least 150,000 vehicles this year, which will give us growth of 25%… Then, we extend our model range and distribution network our plan is to sell 310,000 vehicles by 2016.” 
The actual number of SsangYong vehicles sold in 2013 was just short of the mark at 145,649. This shows that SsangYong has a strong belief in itself that it will hit future targets and so far, the company has not failed as it has done in the past. A company like SsangYong that is moving in the right direction has the potential strength to exceed its future targets and goals.
Currently, the company is embroiled in a controversial name changing of the brand as SsangYong CEO, Lee Yoo – Ill stated, “I’ve ordered the marketing team to look for a name that has a Korean feel but can give the brand a new image.”
It was unclear why there was this sudden priority to change the brands name however it is evident that with the acquisition made by Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, The newly revived company would do well to have a new brand name that reflects the successful direction SsangYong has recently ventured into. This could also change the brands image as SsangYong is a name that has garnered negativity in the past.
Is the SsangYong brand name itself a major weakness?
Questions were asked reflecting this logic such as, ‘does the SsangYong brand name hold a weakness against the development of the company for its existing future?’
‘Why would the SsangYong name be dropped?’
Well again the CEO explained his reasoning by the controversial name change by stating, “If you search for SsangYong Motor on the internet, you find things like worker discharges and militant labour unions. This is one of the reasons why a company name change is necessary.” 
It feels that SsangYong although proud of its South Korean roots wants to really forget its past and focus on its future existence as a completely new company with a new brand image.
With this exciting revelation of SsangYong becoming this completely different brand to what it was previously known as, how will the designs of its future vehicles be affected?
SsangYong’s of the past were generally negatively received in terms of design. This was a major weakness for the brand as it had no appeal to the market with its odd, peculiar and sometimes ‘ugly’ designs.
Image taken from, (The Telegraph, Ten of the ugliest cars ever made, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/picturegalleries/8538993/Ten-of-the-ugliest-cars-ever-made.html?image=8, illus)
Well one vehicle that has really stood out and given an insight to the future of how SsangYong vehicles will look is the XIV Concept that has had huge marketing exposure at the Frankfurt, Geneva and Paris shows.
Image taken from, (SsangYong XIV-1 Concept, http://www.automobilesreview.com/gallery/ssangyong-xiv-1-concept/ssangyong-xiv-1-concept-02.jpg, illus)
The XIV is a revolutionary vehicle and hints towards the future design language of SsangYong. No longer will the future vehicles of this company be dreary and undesirable like the past models which were major weaknesses in the success of the company.
Expect this vehicle to be released sometime in 2015.
However, a whole new ball game is SsangYong’s strength to reinvent itself and if the rest of the future product range were to follow suit with the XIV Concept, then we really will have a major player within the automotive industry.
By Parvinder Perry Singh
: SSANGYONG SETTING AMBITIOUS TARGETS UNDER MAHINDRA OWNERSHIP, http://www.ssangyongmotor.co.za/modules_FE/layout2/displayFullNews.asp?newsID=32, 2012)
: Considering Changing Company Name for New Brand Image, http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/article/1581/ssangyong-motor-considering-changing-company-name-new-brand-image