Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. participates in a ribbon cutting ceremony during an event at the Mahindra Automotive North America facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S. (Photographer: Laura McDermott/Bloomberg)

M&M Pauses SsangYong’s Entry Into The U.S.

Homegrown automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has put on hold plans to introduce SsangYong brand in the U.S.

“If we had done the launch of SsangYong in the U.S., we probably would have launched it with a different name...in fact we have decided right now to put it (U.S launch) on hold,” Pawan Goenka, managing director at M&M, said. The company, he said, is also averse to introducing SsangYong Motor Company branded cars in India in the short to medium term.

Replying to a query if the Mumbai-based firm was planning to change the name of its South Korean subsidiary which it acquired in 2011, Goenka said the jury is still out on the matter, with some supporting a name change while others opposing it. “Our global distributors are against it. As of now we have not decided on it as this matter is not in our priority list right now.”

Last year, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, while inaugurating its $230 million new plant in Detroit in the U.S., had indicated that the company may enter the U.S. car market with its South Korean subsidiary. However, it later launched off-road model Roxor under the Mahindra brand in the market.

Commenting on bringing the brand to India, Goenka said, “in the short term to medium term horizon we don't see SsangYong brand coming here”. There was no need because Mahindra as a brand is fairly established in the domestic market, he said.

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“As long as we are able to get the connect with Korean manufacturing and engineering, I don't think we need to bring SsangYong brand here,” Goenka noted.

The company sells Alturas G4 brand in Korea under SsangYong Rexton brand but has launched the vehicle here under the Mahindra badge. It also plans to launch the upcoming compact SUV code-named S201, which is based on SsangYong Tivoli, under the Mahindra brand.

“To establish a new brand in any new market is huge effort and not something that can easily work. Many well known big SUV brands have not been able to sell (in India). It is a wise thing for us to do,” Goenka said.

M&M forayed into the premium SUV space with the launch of Alturas G4 priced between Rs 26.95 lakh and Rs 29.95 lakh (ex-showroom). The company is aiming to sell around 450-500 units of the new model every month.