SsangYong Tivoli compact crossover SUV arrives
SsangYong has officially revealed its new Tivoli crossover at a launch event in Seoul, Korea
The new SsangYong Tivoli has taken its official bow. SsangYong’s B-segment compact crossover will go head-to-head with the likes of Renault’s Captur, Peugeot’s 2008, the forthcoming Mazda CX-3 and, of course, Nissan's Juke when it goes on sale in the UK this summer.
The Tivoli is the first all-new SsangYong produced since the Indian conglomerate Mahindra took a 70 per cent controlling stake in the Korean company back in 2011. It’s also the car that SsangYong executives hope can propel the brand into the minds of a whole new group of global car buyers.
Speaking at the launch, Mahindra automotive divsion president, Pawan Kumar Goenka, explained that the Tivoli is “the result of 42 months hard work and the investment of 350 billion Korean Won (£212m).”
He also said that with the help of the Tivoli, “SsangYong will fulfil its ambition of being the most innovative and respected Korean motor company.”
SsangYong Tivoli: extensive range, 5-year warranty
The Tivoli will go on sale in the UK this summer in front wheel-drive guise powered by a new 124bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine but by the end of 2015, the range will be bolstered by a 1.6-litre diesel and four-wheel-drive.
With the further option of a manual gearbox or the 6-speed automatic also found in BMW’s MINI, the Tivoli will offer one of the most comprehensive model ranges in the supermini-sized crossover segment. Together with SsangYong's 5-year unlimited mileage warranty, it's hoped that the scope of the range will be a key selling point for the Tivoli in the UK.
The Tivoli is the first car to be built on an all-new platform developed by SsangYong, which is likely to provide the foundation for more compact models from the brand in the future.
In the medium term, a longer version of the Tivoli platform is expected to form the basis of a lengthened Tivoli as well as a small MPV similar to the Kia Venga - but there’s no word on whether either model will come to the UK. What we are likely to see in the fullness of time is a Tivoli using the new turbocharged 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine that's currently being developed by SsangYong and Mahindra.
UK prices for the Tivoli have yet to be revealed but a SsangYong insider hinted that the starting price will be under £13,000 for the front-wheel-drive petrol manual model, with the range extending up to the £20,000 mark for a 4x4 diesel automatic with a full haul of equipment including 18-inch wheels, leather trim, TomTom-based sat-nav and a reversing camera.
Tivoli at the heart of SsangYong growth plans
SsangYong sold 141,000 cars worldwide in 2015 and has set itself the ambtious target of acheiving 300,000 global sales by 2017 with the Tivoli playing the key role in acheiving the increase.
In the UK, SsangYong aims to grow its 1,700 sales total in 2014 to 3,500 units in 2015 with the Tivoli complementing the an existing line-up: the Korando compact SUV, the Rexton large SUV and the Turismo 7-seat MPV. The firm is also banking on its expanding commercial vehicle line-up which now includes revised 4x4 van versions of the Korando and Rexton as well as the Korando Sports pick-up.
SsangYong rumours: Saab and the US market
SsangYong’s leadership used the occasion of the Tivoli launch to confirm that the brand is looking at the possibility of entering the US market.
“We have put on record that, yes, we are targeting the US market. SsangYong as a flag-bearer for the group in the US makes good sense, not least because Korea has established a good reputation for producing quality vehicles.” Said Mahindra chairman, Anand Mahirinda.
SsangYong Chairman, Yoo-il Lee suggested, however, that the preparations for entry into the US market may take time. “The US is a very difficult market so we have to study it very carefully. We’ve finished the first stage of research into the market but we need a second stage. I can’t tell you when we will go into the US but we will go into the US definitely.”
Reported plans for a rebranding of SsangYong to facilitate its move to the US now appear to be off the agenda and there was no comment on rumours that the company could be interested in buying the Saab brand.
“There have been some reports in the media about us acquiring Saab but all I can do is repeat our standard comment that we don’t comment on speculative media reports.” Said Anand Mahirinda.
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