Mahindra will make another attempt at entering the US market, but rather than with a small, diesel-powered pickup, it’ll be with an entire standalone brand. Reuters is reporting that South Korea’s Ssangyong, will attempt to enter the US market by late 2019. The news was announced by the company’s CEO Choi Johng-sik, who called entry into the United States a “make or break” move for South Korea’s fourth largest automaker.
“It is true that there are many concerns about the U.S. entry,” Choi told reporters during a vehicle launch,Reuters reports. “We think the U.S. project will make or break our company. So we’ll have full discussions with Mahindra.”
It’s that last sentence that is perhaps the biggest reason to cast doubt on Choi’s claim. Aside from Mahindra’s last failed attempt at entering the American market, his comments directly contradict those made by his boss, the executive director of Mahindra, Pawan Goenka. As Reuters tells it, Goenka considers moving into North America “somewhat on the back burner,” and thinks the more immediate concern is building Ssangyongs in China.
Our analysis of the situation kind of leans toward’s Choi here. Ssangyong has a roubust line of CUVs and SUVs, both of which are enjoying tremendous popularity here in the US market, thanks to low fuel prices. The Chinese auto industry, meanwhile, has had its own problems.
What is clear is that Ssangyong needs to make some kind of move. Economic troubles in its largest export market, Russia, have hurt the company, which was rescued by Mahindra in 2011 after nearly going bankrupt. If it were to enter the American market, Choi said it’d first be with the SIV-2. And yes, the company would come up with a name that wasn’t so likely to remind potential buyers of the phrase “leaking like a sieve.”