The beginning of SsangYong Motors takes us back to January of 1954; back then, the company was known as Ha Dong-hwan Motor Workshop, and even from the beginning it was dedicated to greatness. In 1967, just over a decade after its founding, the company was already Korea's top exporter of buses to Vietnam; by 1974, it became the co-establisher of Shinjin Jeep Motor Co Ltd before changing its name to Donga Motor Co. Ltd. Over the next several years, the company built the Pyungtaek plant and began to create a variety of jeeps, including four-six seater passenger jeeps, snow-plough jeeps, and taxi jeeps. The Korando brand was officially launched in 1983, and the organization officially changed its name to SsangYong Motor Company.
The early 1990s saw even more growth for SsangYong, as Mercedes-Benz AG made a capital investment in the company, enabling SsangYong to create even better vehicles for global markets. This led to the exciting development of new vehicles like 1993's Musso, a 4x4 SUV, and 1997's Chairman, a luxury sedan that found itself here in beautiful New Zealand in 2005.
In 1998, SsangYong merged with Daewoo and improved the Musso even further, introducing a seven seat Musso. After becoming independent from Daewoo in 2000, SsangYong produced the Rexton 4x4 (which makes use of Mercedes-Benz engine technology) in 2001.
Since it began distributing cars here, SsangYong has been excellent at catering to the Kiwi lifestyle. 2006 saw the introduction of the Actyon Sports Ute here in New Zealand, and this formidable vehicle was awarded the Ute of the Year by AA. 2006 saw the Rexton II, which was even more suitable for New Zealand life--and Kiwi motorists loved it! In 2009, with the global financial crisis, 70% of SsangYong share was purchased by Mahindra and Mahindra Corporation, serving to further improve the design of SsangYong vehicles. Great Lake Motor Distributors--a 100% Kiwi-owned distribution company that's based in Taupo--took control over SsangYong NZ around this same time.
In 2011, the SsangYong Korando won the title of NZ Compact SUV of the Year, proving once again that SsangYong knows how to make vehicles that are perfectly suited to New Zealand. 2012 was another momentous year, with Sir Colin Meads becoming SsangYong NZ's brand ambassador and the launch of new vehicles like the all new Actyon Sports Ute, the Rexton W, and the Korando with petrol engine. In 2013, SsangYong NZ was recognized as the Fastest Growing Distributor by SMC, and the Stavic SUV/MPV crossover showed up on the scene.
2014 marked the sixtieth anniversary of SsangYong, and it was marked with great new models and unprecedented growth in the New Zealand market. With a wide variety of SUVs and Utes that cater to Kiwi motorists. With such amazing growth, SsangYong is pleased to be able to help provide Kiwis with the vehicles that suit our lifestyles best--and we're all very excited to see what the future will bring!