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£5,000 start-up costs as Ssangyong relaunches

SsangYong says it will make start-up costs for the franchise “sensible” as it looks to relaunch its brand and expand its dealer network from 65 before the end of 2012.

Steve Gray, SsangYong UK marketing and communications director, told AM: “It’s absolutely a relaunch of the brand.

"We’ve recruited 10 new dealers so far this year, five of which used to be aftersales only.”

Some dealers that are aftersales only won’t be taking back the new car franchise.

Gray said: “What you want are evangelists. We need people that are going to put their heart and soul into the franchise.

“Our unit margins are reasonably strong and we’ll continue to concentrate on niche product areas where we’re strong.

“We’re trying to make investing in this franchise as sensible as possible. Dealers will need a trained technician, special tools and parts stock, but start-up costs won’t be more than £5,000.”

Dealers can agree their quarterly volume targets categorised as A, B or C dealers, which are eight, 14 and 26 units each respectively.

Gray said 85% of dealers had agreed to become B and C category dealers.

The network has a full supply of demonstrations. Supply is being prioritised by sold orders.

SsangYong is targeting 2,500 sales for next year, which could be a challenge considering it has sold just 143 this year in what was a transitional period for the brand.

The distribution rights for Ssang-Yong were sold by Koelliker UK to Bassadone Automotive Group in July.

The Korean parent company was also restructuring this year which resulted in a 70% stake in its business being acquired by Indian manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra in September.

Gray said Mahindra was committed to investing in the SsangYong brand.

The Korando will be the brand’s relaunch model but there will also be a B-segment crossover in 2013.

Gray will now be focusing on attracting as many people to its website as possible, managing the lead process to pass on quality sales opportunities to dealers.

SsangYong UK’s marketing spend will be heavily slanted to the web and niche events.

SsangYong’s strongest market is in Northern Ireland so there will be a television advertising campaign there.

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