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SsangYong aims to take over minivan market with upgraded model

SsangYong Motor, the local unit of India’s Mahindra & Mahindra, has released its first upgraded Korando Turismo minivan in five years to tackle the Korean market, the company said Wednesday.

“The new Korando Turismo comes with a SUV-like design, equipped with enhanced smart features to satisfy drivers,” said Lee Seok-woo, a marketing manager at SsangYong Motor, during an unveiling event in eastern Seoul.

“We plan to tackle the local minivan market through active promotional events.”

SsangYong Motor’s upgraded version of the Korando Turismo minivan (SsangYong Motor)
SsangYong Motor’s upgraded version of the Korando Turismo minivan (SsangYong Motor)

The carmaker has set the sales target for the new nine- or 11-seater van at 12,000 units this year, about three times the 3,746 units sold last year.

Launched in 2013, SsangYong Motor sold 10,395 units of the Turismo in the first year and led Korea’s minivan market before Kia Motors released the new Carnival in 2015.

Kia’s Carnival, the No.1 best-selling minivan here, posted sales of 68,386 units last year, the company said.

The most distinct aspect of the new Korando Turismo compared to the previous model is the design of its front. It has smaller head lamps that use light-emitting diode daytime-running lamps, the company said. It is priced between 28.3 million won ($26,602) and 52.2 million won.

Competition in Korea’s minivan market, where about 100,000 units are sold annually, is expected to heighten with the new Korando Turismo, Hyundai’s Grand Starex released last year and Kia’s Carnival slated for release in the first half of this year.

SsangYong Motor posted 143,685 units in sales worldwide in 2017 -- 106,677 in Korea and 37,008 units overseas -- down 7.8 percent on-year, the company said.

Its sales in Korea rose for the eighth consecutive year on the popularity of the Tivoli compact SUV and G4 Rexton large SUV, while overseas sales dropped 29.2 percent on-year. 

By Kim Bo-gyung (