SsangYong to diversify with flurry of new models

Published: 08 March 2017 Updated: 08 March 2017

► Korean brand looking to the future
► Electric power and high-tech hybrids a possibility
► Researching autonomous tech, too

Alongside the reveal of the XAVL concept car at the 2017 Geneva motor show, SsangYong – Korea’s oldest car manufacturer – has revealed some of its product plans for the next few years, with much of its future decisions based heavily around connectivity, autonomy and emissions.

New Rexton – September 2017

Kicking things off is a replacement for the age-old Rexton 4×4. Based on a new body-on-frame chassis like the current one, it’ll take influence from the LIV-2 concept previously shown at other motor shows, and will remain a rugged and utilitarian choice but with greater refinement.

New Musso – 2018

Sitting on the Rexton’s new platform will be an all-new Musso pick-up. It’ll come with a choice of loadbed lengths.

New Korando – 2019

While the Korando has been facelifted for 2017 as a last hurrah for the current model, an all-new model arrives in 2019 – again based on an all-new platform that’s probably the most important of the lot.

It currently matches the Tivoli for sales, so it’s imperative that it gets it right in the competitive small SUV segment.

It’ll spawn an electric vehicle…

Yes, SsangYong is currently working on an electric vehicle based on the new Korando platform in response to the growing trend for alternative fuels and lowering emissions.

It’ll be a large SUV, meaning it needs batteries big and powerful enough to hustle it along and return decent range – SsangYong president and CEO Johng-Sik Choi tells us its aiming for at least a 300km (186-mile) range.

The battery tech is there, too, thanks to manufacturers such as Samsung. SsangYong is just waiting for the price of the tech to come down to a more reasonable price.

Expect to see the first SsangYong EV around 2020.

What about self-steering SsangYongs?

It’ll be a while before we see any autonomous SsangYong models hitting the road.

Choi notes the research is generally made up of three phases – and SsangYong is currently at 1.5, with testing already underway on the next Korando and XAVL.

The process is gradual, hence stepping-stone items such as LKAS (lane-keep assist) recently being made available on the 2017 Tivoli XLV.

The future holds much more diversification

That’s due to electric power and greater connectivity – the XAVL shows this with some of its high-tech kit. Admittedly, it’s currently a concept, but we’re likely to see this car launch in production form in the next few years.

It’ll also be the first model without the choice of four-wheel drive from launch. The need to fit seven seats in means those versions will be two-wheel drive. A four-wheel drive version with five seats will be available around six months after the seven-seater debuts.

Click here for more on the Geneva motor show from CAR magazine

By Tom Goodlad

Bauer Automotive's former continuity editor and CAR contributor