That's according to chief financial officer Vasudev Tumbe, who spoke to Bloomberg about the company's struggles. The UK provides 8.3 percent of Ssangyong's sales. But since voting for Brexit, Korea's won has jumped 16 percent against the pound, meaning Ssangyong's budget-friendly, South Korean-built CUVs cost more money in the UK but result in less profit.
Both China and the United States pose a real challenge for the Mahindra-owned company. It has no presence here in the States, and its Chinese exports are minimal. But could the brand make a go in the US? A crossover-intensive lineup in a crossover-obsessed market sounds like a match made in heaven, but product isn't what's preventing Ssangyong's US entry.
The company sells five CUVs across the pond – the seven-seat Rexton, the large, Subaru Outback-like Turismo, the compact Korando, and the funky, two-size Tivoli and Tivoli XLV. Ssangyong's good coverage in the mainstream CUV segments aside, the company faces greater challenges entering the US market.
Ssangyong must start from the ground up, marketing an entirely new line of vehicles to American consumers already inundated with options in the CUV market. Then, if the company wants to sell cars, it must court a major partner or establish a dealership network of its own. And it needs to do all that with the name "Ssangyong." Here's a challenge: find two average Americans who say that name the same way. If the company's serious about making a go in America, it needs a more pronounceable name.
Provided Ssangyong overcomes this mountain of work, there are other problems. See, the company's vehicles don't have a reputation for being, um, attractive. Quite the opposite. While the basic idea behind its vehicles might appeal to US consumers, we're a fickle bunch when it comes to aesthetics, which could hamper its US sales. Its powertrain game isn't particularly strong, either – manuals are standard on nearly every model and we could only find one gas-powered offering, a 1.6-liter on the Tivoli. But, and this is a big but, Ssangyong's price point is strong.
The Rexton has roughly the same starting price in the UK as the Mitsubishi Outlander. The Korando, meanwhile, starts at just under £16,000 to the Honda HR-V's £18,495, and the Turismo is £9,000 less than the £27,995 Subaru Outback, but is longer and wider. In other words, Ssangyong offers a lot of car for the money.
Ssangyong's product and pricing should appeal to American consumers. But with the situation in the UK showing no signs of improving, the company might have to capitalize on those advantages, despite major challenges, sooner rather than later.