SSANGYONG is gearing up to offer a bespoke range of accessories for Australia’s discerning and particular demands with locally tuned chassis set ups and a range of tough-truck additions that will boost the appeal of its all-terrain range.
Following the lead of fellow South Korean brands Hyundai and Kia, the revenant SUV specialist has confirmed that it will tune its model’s suspension to better suit both Australia’s unique motoring landscape and the habits of the drivers that go there.
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But in a multi-pronged assault on the SUV and one-tonne market the car maker will also offer a range of customisation kits that will grab the attention of the hardcore off-road or outback touring enthusiast.
Speaking to Journalists in South Korea, SsangYong Motor Company export senior executive director Daniel Rim said a fleet of development vehicles would soon be making their way to Australia to start local chassis fettling.
“We are shipping cars to Australia to get the tuning development started,” he said. “We’ll have cars on the ground next month.”
The introductory range is comprised of Musso one-tonne ute, Rexton large SUV, Tivoli small SUV and its big-booted XLV sibling.
In the case of Hyundai and Kia, the value of a bespoke Australian suspension tune is widely known and, if SsangYong executes the operation as successfully, the four-model range that will reintroduce a retail presence in November will have an extra string to its bow.
Freshly appointed SsangYong Australia managing director Tim Smith said the company was still finalising the contractor that will complete the local tuning, but the result will be a set up different to other key global regions the US and Europe.
“There's different markets that we target and that initial phase of suspension and tuning for Australia,” he said. “So it will be locally tuned. We haven't got a supplier yet but we're looking at a couple.”
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The range of customisation options will be the second sweetener in the deal for the SsangYong line-up, particularly for Australia’s tough dual-cab ute fraternity.
With vehicles such as the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux proving that local fans have a significant pot of disposable income to throw at modifying their trucks, Smith said the company would be targeting these enthusiasts with a range of extras to boost practicality and looks.
“Accessories are a good source of profitability,” he said. “The Australian average (pick-up customer) spends around $3000 per vehicle, so we definitely want to capture that opportunity and another strength that we have is that we distribute all over the world and can go into global sourcing. We are going to develop canopies in cost effective countries like Thailand, those are the countries servicing hardtops globally.
“Those are the sorts of things we're taking about right now and we're talking to head office and the engineers about what we can and can't do.”
The exact catalogue of goodies is still being determined but is likely to kick off with the obligatory nudge bars, hard-top canopies and sports bars, but expand to include an affordable range of suspension lift kits, wheel and tyre packages and even additional lighting.
During our visit to SsangYong’s native South Korea we got a chance to steer an example of the Musso decked out with a lift kit, knobbly Cooper rubber, unique sports bar and even a winch tailored to seamlessly fit the front bumper.
If the company can deliver vehicles that offer the same appeal and allure locally, there will be a new compelling one-tonner to bump gloves with a competent line-up of dual-cabs on red dirt.