In 1954 the Korean firm Handongwan Motor Company was founded, which in 1984 changed its name to SsangYong Group. The first products of the company were cheap buses, which gained immense popularity in many countries of the world. In 1967, the production of passenger cars began, which allowed Handogwan to receive high profits. However, the construction of a new plant and the creation of its own technology center did not affect the development of the company's model range.
However, a new starting point was 1986, when SsangYong acquired the Keohwa company, which specialized in the production of off-road vehicles. So in 1988, the compact SsangYong Korando SUV was introduced, equipped with a 2.9-liter diesel power unit with 98 horsepower.
Thanks to this model, the Korean company came to the attention of the German concern Daimler, which hastened to enter into strategic cooperation with a promising automaker, which led to the transition of SsangYong to the use of technologies and units produced by Mercedes-Benz. In 1993, the first of these cars was presented - the SsangYong Musso SUV, equipped with Daimler diesel engines, with a capacity of 77 and 120 horsepower. In addition, thanks to the German company, there was no need to promote the Korean brand in new car markets, the dealer networks of Mercedes and Daewoo were used, which significantly increased the production of this model, and SsangYong updated its personal record with each subsequent year. arrived.
In 1994, a plant for the production of power units was put into operation, where all key management positions were occupied by Daimler engineers. It was this decision that made it possible to produce a large batch of SsangYong Istana minibuses, known in the European automotive market as Mercedes-Benz MB100. In 1996, the second generation of the Korando was introduced, which has become widespread in the automotive market in the Asian region due to its low price.
Despite the successes, the 1997 financial crisis hit SsangYong hard due to the lengthy and costly modernization of the entire production process. As a result, the controlling stake was bought out by one of the largest car manufacturers in South Korea - Daewoo, which did not affect further cooperation with the Daimler concern, which continued to participate in the development of SsangYong cars.
In the same year, the brand's first and only non-off-road vehicle, the Chairman, was introduced. Under the hood is a six-cylinder power unit from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and a slightly updated chassis of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class was chosen as the platform.
In 2000, due to the plight of Daewoo, all of SsangYong's shares were bought out by its ruling elite, which allowed the automaker to gain independence. In the same year, all current models of the brand were updated, and a year later a new flagship car of the brand was presented - the full-size SUV SsangYong Rexton, built on the basis of the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class. Under the hood is a 3.5-liter petrol power unit from Daimler.
In 2002, the decision was made to open the SsangYong Technology Center in China, which resulted in the SsangYong Musso Sports, a frame pickup truck. And the next year, two top models of the Chairman and Rexton, which received a new design from the renowned company ItalDesign, underwent a slight restyling. At the end of 2005, the production of Rexton SUVs began at the ZMA enterprise in Naberezhnye Chelny, owned by Severstal-auto (brand Sollers). Since the end of 2006, the assembly of Ssang Yong Kyron and then Ssang Yong Actyon was launched at the plant. In 2006, the large Chinese conglomerate SAIC bought out 49% of the shares of the Korean automaker, which led to the release of the first crossover brand SsangYong Actyon.
However, serious miscalculations in the company's development strategy led to the fact that in 2008 SsangYong began bankruptcy proceedings, which led to the closure of the brand's factories until 2009.
Since December 2009, SsangYong models have been produced in the Far East. The total investments in this project amounted to 5 billion rubles. Since 2010, the South Korean automaker SsangYong Motor has been owned by the Indian company Mahindra & Mahindra.
In 2010, the Daimler concern, through the Indian firm Mahindra, bought out 70% of the shares of SsangYong. Such a lengthy procedure was caused by the fact that the South Korean government obstructed the direct sale of the company, fearing foreign expansion into the country's auto industry. However, after a long lull, a solution was found. Production was resumed and the engineers of the Korean brand began work on new models, at the same time completely updating the current model range in 2011.
In the same 2010, Korando appeared on the market - a compact Korean crossover with front or all-wheel drive, known in the Russian market under the name New Actyon. The European premiere of the crossover took place in 2010 at the Moscow Motor Show.
Korando became the first SUV that SsangYong equipped with a monocoque body. The legendary Giorgetto Giugiaro had a hand in the design of the car. As a result, the Korando has become more European, sporting two color schemes and seven body paint options.