Korean automaker Ssangyong is rumored to be making a Jeep Wranger rival, as well a US market entry. According to a report by Autocar, the news comes from a source from within the company. “Ssangyong is effectively Korea’s answer to Land Rover and Jeep. We need to make better use of the power of our brand,” said the insider.
The insider also mentioned the challenges in penetrating the US market. The source said "The company has never cracked North America because it requires a huge investment and because the distributor model that we use in other territories wouldn’t really work in the USA. But a Wrangler-style high-design 4x4 could create the waves we’d need in order to make a mark over there."
Ssangyong last made a Wrangler-inspired short wheelbase 4x4 in 1996 with the Korando II which ceased production in 2006. The Korando II sat on a shortened Musso chassis and, like its 5-door counterpart, ran on a Mercedes-Benz diesel engine. After a 4 year hiatus, the Korando name returned now called the Korando III. The current Korando is now a crossover which is currently a competitor for the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage.
The Wrangler rival could be powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines found in the Tivoli city crossover. The source also suggested that a plug-in hybrid variant could be developed for future applications. Another engine according to the source is the three-cylinder, 1.1-liter turbocharged version of Ssangyong's new “eXGi” engine currently under development.