Last year, we reported that Ssangyong Motor found a new owner via EV startup Edison Motors. Purchased for around KRW 304.8 billion (or PHP 13.4 billion), the buyout was approved by a Korean court which meant Ssangyong could continue making cars while also paying its outstanding debt.
Unfortunately, the acquisition deal fell through as Edison Motors failed to complete the payment before the deadline. As a result, Ssangyong had to find another buyer amid its bankruptcy fiasco. Luckily for the embattled automaker, Korean steel and chemicals company KG Group, purchased Ssangyong Motor last June 2022 and secured a 61.86% stake in the company.
With Ssangyong now under new management, it will be able to continue making vehicles, as well as focus on its electrification plans. But for KG Group, the automaker will have to be renamed to freshen up its image.
KG Group has opted to overhaul the brand's name, logo, and corporate identity. According to a report by the Korea Herald, KG Group Chairman Kwak Jea-Sun said that while the name Ssangyong Motor has good memories, it's also associated with a painful image. With that, the company has shared its plan to change its name to KG Mobility.
But before they can actually change the name of Ssangyong Motor, KG Group said the name change will have to receive approval at a general shareholders meeting which will take place in March. Once the change becomes official, it will signal the end of Ssangyong Motor's 35-year-old name.
“From now, all SsangYong cars will come out to the world under the name of KG. Even with the name change, SsangYong Motor’s history will not change, and (the carmaker) will have the same conditions,” said Kwak.
This is not the first time Ssangyong will have to change names. Before being known the world over as Ssangyong Motor, Korea's oldest automaker first started as Dong-Hwan Motor in 1954. Then in 1963, it merged with Dongbang Motor to create Ha Dong-hwan Motor Corporation. It then became Dong-A Motor in 1977 up until 1986 when the automaker was purchased by the Ssangyong Business Group. This ultimately led to the company renaming itself Ssangyong Motor in 1988.
It's not clear yet whether the renaming of Ssangyong Motor will affect how the company designs its vehicles or its plans to electrify its lineup in the not-so-distant future. But given that Kwak mentioned that “SsangYong Motor’s history will not change and (the carmaker) will have the same conditions”, perhaps the renaming will be done solely to give it a fresh new image.
With KG Group adamant about the renaming, does this mean that Ssangyong in the Philippines will have to rename itself to KG Mobility once the change is approved? Watch this space.