|Ssangyong SUT 1 Concept via PickupTrucks.com/Jalopnik.com|
Lee foresees some struggles in complying with complex US homologation requirements stating “We will need time to fulfill all strict emission and safety regulations.” Clearly, Ssangyong understands the challenges (lessons learned from Mahindra) but intends to pursue the strategic US market.
Battle of the Brands
News of Ssangyong’s US ambitions still leaves Mahindra dealers and current/former Mahindra distributor, Global Vehicles USA (GV) in a vacuum.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, wholly owns Ssangyong Motor. Ssangyong’s line of small SUV’s are primarily powered by 4-cylinder turbodiesel engines with a few gasoline-fueled options. It is likely that Ssangyong will want to focus on diesel engines for the United States.
Mahindra Dealers and Global Vehicles may be legitimately concerned that Mahindra’s Ssangyong takeover has created a loophole which would allow M&M to bypass GV and some 350 dealers who have committed to selling Mahindra-branded pickups and SUV’s powered by 4-cylinder turbodiesel engines.
|Rendering of a Mahindra branded, Ssangyong Korando C via IAB|
Conflict of Interest
There is little sense in Mahindra bringing competing diesel-powered brands and products to an already challenging and competitive market. Cherry-picking the best products from Mahindra and Ssangyong and rolling them into a unified brand may be more strategically sound.
Mahindra is extremely dedicated to the globalization of the Mahindra brand name and has established decent brand recognition in the US with their tractor and information technology divisions. On the flip side, the Mahindra small truck brand in the US has become a symbol of Mahindra’s inability to create a truly global automotive product and execute an enchanting business and marketing strategy in the United States. A new brand name may help bury these negative impressions.