By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) -- Financially troubled SsangYong Motor Co. said Tuesday it will launch its first electric vehicle (EV) in Europe later this year as it seeks to speed up its sales process and survive in the changing business environment.
SsangYong said it named the EV variant of the Korando EV the Korando Emotion and has begun domestic production to first target the European market in October.
SsangYong said it has also been developing an all-electric SUV with a goal of launching it next year to join the global automotive industry's EV transition.
The automaker said it will realign its structure to develop competitive eco-friendly models to dispel concerns over its viability and catch up with the latest industry trends.
"We will spur development of the new EV to release it earlier than expected," court-appointed manager Chung Yong-won said in a statement. "We are expanding our eco-friendly lineup and developing a new business model to become more competitive."
The SUV-focused automaker has struggled with declining sales at home and abroad due to a lack of new models and Indian parent Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.'s decision not to inject fresh capital into the Korean unit.
SsangYong has been under court receivership since April as Mahindra failed to attract an investor amid the prolonged pandemic and worsening financial status.
On Monday, SsangYong said half of SsangYong Motor Co.'s workers will go on unpaid leave for two years beginning next month as part of self-help measures to speed up its sales process.
The company also plans to sell further assets to raise funds and not to hire new employees over the next five years to streamline its structure, while the union promised to stage no strikes for years to come.
Under court receivership, SsangYong's survival depends on whether there will be a new investor after debt settlement and other restructuring efforts.
It is the second time for SsangYong to be under court receivership after undergoing the same process a decade ago.
Court receivership is one step short of bankruptcy in South Korea's legal system. In receivership, the court will decide whether and how to revive the company.
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