SsangYong Motor to develop pure electric car by 2020

SEOUL-- SsangYong Motor Co. and its Indian parent Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. will jointly develop a pure electric vehicle (EV) by 2020, the carmaker said Wednesday.

In a joint project with Mahindra & Mahindra, SsangYong is developing a pure electric vehicle which could reach a maximum speed of 150 kilometers per hour and have a range of 300 km on a single charge, a a company spokesman quoting Managing Director Song Seung-ki said.

Song made the remark during a media event of its production line in Pyeongtaek some 70 kilometers south of Seoul, the spokesman said.

The electric car will be a sport utility vehicle (SUV) as the carmaker aims to focus on strengthening its vehicle lineup with premium and environment-friendly models. There has been a surge in demand for recreational vehicles amid global economic recovery trends and low oil prices.

The EV will be assembled in the same production line where the Tivoli and Korando C crossovers are being made.

SsangYong's Pyeongtaek plant has an annual capacity of 250,000 vehicles and produced 156,000 units last year.

To help move the projects to develop premium SUVs and EV forward, SsangYong said in March it will inject 1 trillion won (US$1 billion) into related endeavors in the next four years.

"Mahindra is fully behind supporting all of the investment that is required for SsangYong, and, as needed, Mahindra will always have funds for SsangYong," Mahindra & Mahindra Managing Director Pawan Goenka said in the same month in a press conference held on the sidelines of the Seoul Motor Show.

In March 2011, Mahindra & Mahindra which owns a 72.85 percent stake in SsangYong, acquired the carmaker in bankruptcy proceedings as part of its "globalization strategy."

For all of 2016, the SUV-focused carmaker shifted to a net profit of 58.10 billion won from a net loss of 61.94 billion won a year earlier. The turnaround, the first in nine years, was mainly attributable to strong sales of the Tivoli.

The carmaker swung to an operating profit of 27.99 billion won from an operating loss of 36.81 billion won during the same period. Sales rose 7.0 percent to 3.629 trillion won from 3.39 trillion won.

Its main SUV models are the G4 Rexton, the Korando C and the Tivoli. The large-sized Chairman sedan is the only non-SUV made by SsangYong.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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