If it can hang on, Korean manufacturer SsangYong has its version of a new Bronco Sport and Jeep Wrangler competitor. Being the fourth largest Korean automaker, it should be making lots of bank. But this hasn’t helped it from filing for bankruptcy in December. One of the bright spots for the company to help it out of BK are these new SUVs coming; the X200 and J100 EV.
Production of the SsangYong J100 will begin in 2022
While the majority of owners look to sell off part of SsangYong, it says production of the J100 will begin sometime in 2022. It is also planning on producing an electric version of its Korando. That model is the company’s generic-looking crossover.
The automaker has no presence currently in the US. But that may change. Cardinal One Motors may take a controlling share of SsangYong. Cardinal is the new company built from the ashes of HAAH Automotive Holdings.
HAAH was going to import Chinese-made vehicles into the US. Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s tariffs laid HAAH to waste. A new form of the company is looking to import Korean vehicles because the US has a free-trade agreement with that nation.
These SUVs are a cross between the FJ, Bronco Sport, and Renegade
As for the design, it is an appealing cross between a Toyota FJ and Bronco Sport, with a little Jeep Renegade thrown in. SsangYong calls the new design direction “Powered by Toughness.” Designers sometimes use broad statements of buzzwords to give them a path towards design philosophy.
These renderings are being driven by four concepts. They are Robust Architecture, Unexpected Delight, Vibrant Contrast, and Communion with Nature. Yeah, it’s a little goofy.
“It’s a very exciting time for SsangYong”
“We have re-interpreted our future design vision and product philosophy by drawing heavily on our unique heritage,” design head Lee Kang told CarBuzz. “It is a very exciting time for SsangYong and will build on the history and heritage of its unique and distinctively authentic SUV designs to impress its customers of the future.”
The drivetrain and other details are not known but both SUVs will have four-wheel-drive. Beyond that little is known, unfortunately. We assume the EV is a unibody, but hope the larger one is body-on-frame.
Besides Korea, SsangYong is sold in Australia and the Middle East
SsangYong is sold outside of the home market. Major markets include Australia and some parts of the Middle East. If these new models incorporate US-regulated safety features like side door impact and crumple zones, they could be sold here.
Importing SUVs into the US would definitely be a shot in the arm for the struggling company. But as Hyundai and Kia have shown, Korean-built vehicles can compete handily in the US. The quality, design, and technology are all there.
And for Cardinal, these new models could launch the company here, after getting blown out by the Trump tariffs. Plus, it will give the Bronco Sport and Renegade some competition.