India’s largest utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra is looking to expand its base even further and this is evident with its recent acquired subsidiary – Ssangyong.
Ssangyong Motor has been around for 15 years and is a small player as compared to Hyundai and Kia. But its SUVs are sold in 98 countries with 70 % sales from Europe alone.
What’s interesting is that both, Mahindra & Mahindra and SsangYong, started out from the same point – building 4x4 Jeeps. As a result, products from both companies have had ruggedness as part of their DNA and a long history of building SUVs with a traditional body-on-frame chassis.
Ssanyong has a series of modern vehicles, engines and chassis systems that will well complement the Mahindra range. So the Korean company could be really useful in Mahindra’s bid to go global and match its competitors.
Mahindra will enter into the luxury SUV segment by bringing Rexton and Korando SUVs of Ssangyong. Speaking in a press conference at the Seoul Motor Show, Mahindra Group managing director Anand Mahindra said that the company will roll-out the Korando and Rexton models in the Indian market. He said, "Right now the (Indian) market is a very, very high-potential market for products of the kinds Ssangyong makes. People are ready to spend more for more sophisticated products."
According to Rajesh Jejurikar, Chief of Operations, M&M, Rexton and Korando will competed with SUVs in the Rs 15-20 lakh price bracket and the cost will be decided depending on the level of localization. The expected price of 2011 Ssangyong Korando in India is around Rs. 15,00,000/-
So that means the Toyota Fortuner, GM Captiva, Ford Endeavour, Nissan X-Trail, Honda CR-V , Skoda Yeti and Renault Koleos will get a new rival in premium SUV segment.
More on the Korando C
The Korando was introduced as early as 1974 but has not met much success. The sales pitch for the fourth-generation Korando C reads ‘Classy Utility Vehicle’ and is a step up from the previous models. Designed by Italdesign, the Korando is the first monocoque vehicle that Ssangyong has produced in its 56-year history.
The Korando C is small but sporty. In size, at 4.4m long and 1.6m high, it is equivalent to the Suzuki Grand Vitara. The Korando C has a ground clearance of 180.00 mm and a kerb weight of 1672.00 kgs.
The exterior boasts of a chrome coated radiator grille, all-around tinted glass, solar controlled windshield glass, privacy glass, roof rails, rear spoiler with LED, high mounted stop lamp, two-tone lower mouldings, chrome plated dual tail pipe and body coloured door handles.
On the interior front, the Korando’s interiors are far better than anything that’s come out of the Mahindra stable but it does not have the luxury feel, say of a Fortuner. Still it comes with an illuminated ignition key slot, leather steering wheel trim, floor mats, door mirror mounted puddle light, parking sensor, fog lamps and tachometer.
The latest safety equipment is included: 6 airbags, EBD, ABS braking and built-in Electronic Stabilization Program.
On The Inside
Ssangyong Korando comes powered with a Euro V compliant, 4 cylinder 1998cc turbo diesel engine delivering a maximum power of 173Bhp @ 4000 rpm and a maximum torque of 360Nm @ 2000 rpm. It has a variable geometry turbocharger, exhaust gas recirculation and a particular filter.
The Ssangyong Korando C comes with a standard six speed manual gear transmission and independent Macpherson-coil spring suspension, front ventilated and rear disk brakes along with tilt steering.
The Korando C will be available with front wheel drive or four wheel drive, the latter arranged through an electronically controlled clutch unit developed and supplied by Delphi.
Strictly a five-seater but the Korando claims more cabin room than any of its rivals. Passenger space is very comfortable particularly in the back where legroom is quite generous. The front seats are also generous with enough adjustment for tall drivers.
The Korando C crossover is to be manufactured near Pune at the Chakan plant. M&M will also launch the Rexton, another SUV from the Ssangyong brand apart from bringing out the SUV codenamed W201, which is being tested at present.
So while the Korando C is not a class leader, it is the best car that Ssanyoung has made till date and will make a useful addition to Mahindra’s range, taking it into a part of the market where it isn’t currently represented. Mahindra may even introduce a diesel-hybrid version of the Korando C200 on a later date.