SsangYong is set to reveal a Nissan Juke rival at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014, ahead of the car going on sale in 2015, Auto Express has learned.
Penciled in to be unveiled in close-to-production guise at next year's Geneva show, the new small crossover will sit on a new compact chassis platform and debut a new pair of 1.6-litre engines – one petrol and one diesel.
Securing this new technology was possible thanks to a large investment from the brand’s India owners Mahindra & Mahindra, and SsangYong is hopeful that once this car is added to the portfolio, its factory in Korea will reach full capacity and finally reach profitability.
The exterior styling will be heavily influenced by the XIV-1 concept shown in Frankfurt in 2011 – with a clean, more modern look than the brand’s current line-up. With a European market launch date set at January 2015 and a starting price that could sneak below £12,000 the new car is tipped to be a strong seller in Europe.
Up to now tight CO2 tax restrictions and a narrow engine range has limited the brand’s appeal. Until the new car arrives the company is pinning its hopes on the latest version of the SsangYong Rexton 4x4 – a seven-seat off-roader that costs less than £26,000 even for fully-loaded top-spec auto version.
At present UK sales targets are modest with the brand on course to sell around 1,800 cars next year and expand its dealer network to 75 branches across the UK by the end of next year. The company hopes to establish itself as a niche 4x4 specialist with prices low enough to compete against used premium competitors.