Yong Hwan-jin and Lee Ha-yeon
Ssangyong Motor Co., once on the verge of bankruptcy, is poised to cement its position as South Korea`s third largest car seller this year after its market share hit the highest in 14 years in November thanks to brisk sales of flagship sport utility vehicle models Tivoli and Rexton Sports.
According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association on Sunday, Ssangyong Motor sold a record monthly high of 10,330 vehicles in Korea in November, up 17.8 percent from a year ago. As a result, it commanded about 7 percent of the Korean auto market, the largest in 14 years.
Since the company first emerged as the country’s third largest car seller at home after elbowing out GM Korea and Renault Samsung Motors in October last year, it has maintained its position as No. 3.
As its cumulative sales from January to November reached 98,484 units, expectation is growing that its full-year sales would hit the 100,000-unit milestone for three years in a low this year and break last year’s record of 106,677 units.
This is a great victory to Ssangyong Motor that had gone through tough years until recently with its owners changed twice and poor sales. Since it was acquired by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra in late 2010, Ssangyong Motor has successfully turned around with its focus on SUV models.
The latest stellar performance also was largely driven by upbeat sales of Tivoli and Rexton Sports amid rising popularity of SUV models. The best-selling model Tivoli sold 39,330 units up to November this year in Korea, making up 40 percent of its total sales. Rexton Sports sold 4,106 units in November alone, marking the 4,000-unit milestone for two months in a row.