The first electric ute from a South Korean manufacturer is in the pipeline for SsangYong, which is working on three new models after being bailed out of two years of financial turmoil.
South Korean automaker Ssangyong – recently placed under the wing of a new owner after nearly two years on life support – has outlined plans for a wave of new models to boost its worldwide sales.
As reported, the new owner of SsangYong is South Korean chemical and steel company KG Group, which slashed $340 million in debt last week.
With a new owner injecting funding, SsangYong is reportedly developing three new models to launch by the end of 2024 — two of them electric, including what’s rumored to be the first electric Ute by a South Korean brand.
According to a July report by The Korea Heraldan overview of the three models — an electric SUV next year, a second possibly petrol-powered SUV in 2024, and the electric Ute in 2024 — was given to South Korean media by SsangYong’s co-CEO Chung Yong-won .
“In the second half of next year, we will launch a mid-size electric SUV, which will be an innovative model that will surpass other models in the same category,” said Chung Yong-won.
“In mid-2024 we will launch a product codenamed ‘KR10’ which is a reinterpretation of our traditional Korando model and in the second half of 2024 we will launch an electric pickup truck that will not be other domestic automaker has tried.”
Next year’s electric SUV has been publicly dubbed “U100” by the company and confirmed by SsangYong’s UK division as the electric version of the new Torres mid-size SUV.
In January, SsangYong signed a deal with Chinese electric car giant BYD to supply its “Blade” battery packs for the electric Torres – an agreement that was reportedly set to expand at the time to jointly develop future battery packs and vehicle architectures.
SsangYong’s first electric vehicle was the smaller Korando e-Motion SUV – but it’s also yet to be confirmed for Australia.
Next in SsangYong’s expansion is a new SUV called the “KR10” due in 2024, which was previewed in a sketch in July 2021 – before leaked photos with retro design cues surfaced in July 2022, showing those of the SsangYong Korando SUV from the 1990s were inspired.
It’s unclear whether the KR10 – its production name is yet to be confirmed – will use petrol or electric power.
Most interesting for many in Australia, however, may be a new electric Ute due in the second half of 2024 – said to be the first of its kind from a South Korean car brand.
Few details of the new Ute have been confirmed, and it’s unclear if it would use a body-on-frame architecture similar to today’s diesel-engined Musso, or a “monocoque” platform linked to the Torres (codenamed J100 during development ) is shared.
It’s possible it’s based on the next-gen Musso, which could launch at a similar time – if the six-year model cycles for the last two generations of SsangYong-Utes, given the current Musso, which launched in 2018, are a guideline.
Plans for the electric Ute were first confirmed in 2021 in a statement released as part of a financial announcement: “Now starting with [the] Korando e-Motion [electric mid-size SUV]The company plans to add a mid-size electric vehicle and an electric pickup truck to its range of green cars.”
Reports surfaced in March that the company was working on an electric version of the current Musso, due to launch as early as 2023, accelerated for showrooms by its then-planned new owner, South Korean electric bus company Edison Motors.
However, it is unclear if this project is still ongoing after Edison Motors failed to meet payment deadlines and the deal fell through.
If the late 2024 launch schedule applies to SsangYong’s electric ute, it could be the first battery-powered pickup truck from a South Korean manufacturer — as Kia is planning two new electric utes, but they’re not due until 2026.
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