SsangYong is reportedly getting a fresh start, thanks to a six-year-old electric vehicle startup. The South Korean automaker filed for bankruptcy in December 2020 and is currently under court receivership.
According to Nikkei Asia, SsangYong named an Edison Motors-led tie-up as its preferred bidder. The deal is said to be worth around $260 million, according to the publication's sources. The automaker and the bidder are expected to finalize and ink a corporate agreement towards the end of November.
Edison was founded in 2015 and is known to make electric buses and develop commercial trucks. Its interest in SsangYong can be attributed to its intention to penetrate the passenger vehicle market, with the aim to mass-produce passenger EVs in the automaker's factory in Pyeongtaek.
To say that SsangYong Motor has a smooth-sailing corporate life would be blatant lie. Starting its life in 1986, South Korea's fourth-largest automaker began its world-renown in 1991 with its high-profile partnership with Daimler, enabling it to develop an SUV with Mercedes-Benz technology.
Then in 1997, Daewoo bought a controlling stake at SsangYong. That was short-lived as Daewoo then sold off its shares. Chinese automaker SAIC bought a 51 percent stake of SsangYong in 2004.
In 2009, the company reported a $75.42 million loss, putting the company under court receivership.
Mahindra & Mahindra took over the company in 2011, costing the Indian company $463.6 million. And while it looked like the Korean automaker was back on its feet during its time with Mahindra, it could not recover completely, which led to its current debt-laden state today.
SsangYong isn't about to give up despite its long trail of troubles. The company has announced a design concept called the X200, showing its intention to capitalize on the rising tide of boxy SUVs.