Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has just launched the Alturas G4, the most premium model in its portfolio. The Alturas G4, which is essentially the Rexton G4, is the first SsangYong model to be rebadged by the Indian OEM. However, SsangYong is not new to India. The previous-generation Rexton was launched as a SsangYong here.
The rationale behind that move was to establish SsangYong's relation with M&M and to establish the Korean connect seen as "very valuable". Why? "Because there's a very high credibility of the Korean ecosystem, the kind of engineering quality, fit and finish, and perceived quality," says Dr Pawan Goenka, MD, M&M.
Positives as there may be of a Korean association, M&M doesn't see the need to re-introduce the Korean brand in India, at least in the "short to mid-term horizon". Dr Goenka says, " As long as we are able to get the connect with the Korean manufacturing and engineering, I don't think we need to bring in the SsangYong brand here. As you know very well, to establish a new brand in any market is a huge effort and not something that can easily work. Many big MNC brands, some of them very well known, mighty brands, have not been able to establish." And he doesn't see a case for brand SsangYong to be introduced in the USA too. "If we had done the launch of SsangYong in the US, we probably would have launched SsangYong with a different brand name," says Dr Goenka. A USA entry plan for the Korean OEM is on hold.
M&M has been toying with the idea of a name change for SsangYong, where it has a 72 percent stake. It hasn't taken a call yet, but its distributors "by and large" apparently say that the current name is fine. Decision on the name change is not priority for the M&M team. Ensuring the success of the Indian avatar of the Korean SUV is. As the SsangYong Rexton G4, the SUV has sold 40,000 units globally.