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Say goodbye to SsangYong … and hello KGM

 Published 27th February 2024
New Launches 

In March 1917 the German air force sent its latest Gotha G.IV into action. This was the first heavy aircraft capable of crossing the English Channel, and by June the Gotha’s bombing raids on London had made it a household name and a focus of anti-German sentiment in Britain. Which was a bit awkward for the Royal Family whose name at the time was Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This clearly isn’t a direct comparison, but if King George V could change his name to Windsor to avoid any embarrassing connections then there’s no reason why SsangYong can’t change its name to KGM to make a clean break with the past too.

SsangYong was formed in the 1950s and is – sorry, was - the Korean car brand that didn’t quite reach the same heights as Hyundai and Kia over recent years.

The company has a bit of a troubled history involving numerous changes of ownership, industrial unrest, and more than one visit to the bankruptcy courts. In an attempt to put all of that behind it, new owner – the KG Group - has decided to become KGM Motors and reposition itself as a luxury brand. The corporate rebrand will see a revised line-up and consolidation of model specifications across the range with the aim of elevating overall quality, premium craftsmanship, and increasing innovation in future models.

Essentially, the old “value-for-money” approach has been ditched, along with some of the occasionally weird designs.

That future involves updating all of the vehicle specifications, limiting the number of variants of each model, and simplifying the range to K20, K30, K40 and K50 variants. The only thing not changing at the moment is the Musso pick-up range which retains its established EX, Rebel, Saracen, and Saracen+ variants. Alongside its brand transformation, KGM Motors UK has also confirmed a unified design approach and an expansive future product line-up.

Kevin Griffin, managing director of KGM UK, said: “The re-interpretation of the future design vision draws heavily on our unique heritage. As with the new brand identity, this marks a new era for both design and product, with all models moving forward adhering to this exciting, new approach – and we have some exciting new model launches coming.”

Those exciting new models include the UK launch of the new Torres SUV planned for the first quarter of this year. The Torres will be available with both a traditional engine as well as some kind of hybrid/electric variant. We’ll have more information on both closer to the launch date, but just looking at the images it seems the KGM design department has come up something that’s actually rather rugged and handsome, and dare we say, normal...

KGM is also collaborating with China’s BYD to develop a new range of dedicated battery-electric platforms for future EV models. Currently, BEV concept models include a pick-up and two SUVs (one mid-size and one large) with the pick-up and mid-size SUV expected to go into full production in the second half of 2024.

It’s obviously too early to tell if the rebrand will work. It’s going to be dependent on the quality and price of the new models. But for now it's goodbye SsangYong and hello KGM.

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