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Ssangyong Motor eyes entering U.S. market in 4 yrs

All Headlines 16:33 March 09, 2016

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- Ssangyong Motor Co., owned by India's auto giant Mahindra & Mahindra, plans to enter the U.S. market within four years to compete with global carmakers in one of the world's largest markets, its head said Wednesday.

The U.S. is regarded as a tough market for automakers due to fierce competition and the rigorous protection of customer rights.

"We are making preparations to enter the U.S. market in time for the launch of our SIV 2 concept car displayed during the Geneva motor show," Ssangyong Motor CEO Choi Johng-sik told reporters. "That might be late 2019 or early 2020."

"As seen in the case of Mahindra, which tried to go into the U.S. with its small-sized pickup truck but had to put the plan on hold, we understand how tough the U.S. market is... We are going to make thorough preparations for three to four years before making the move," he added.

As for the Chinese market, he said that the company is eyeing an option for local production by utilizing production facilities there, saying that any detailed plan would materialize after around three years.

"Given our product portfolio, it is difficult to think about building our own plant in China, so we are considering selling our cars by making use of local production facilities," he explained.

Choi raised the company's annual sales target for this year to around 160,000 units from 145,000 last year but painted a relatively bleak market picture, emphasizing his top priority is to turn its loss-making business around. Last year, Ssangyong Motor posted 61.9 billion won (US$50.9 million) in net loss, a 21.65 percent rise from a year earlier.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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