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Ssangyong means twin dragons. The Ssangyong Logo is a stylized representation of two intertwined dragons rising to heaven. Ssangyon, the double-dragon, teams up with Proton to make the new up-and-coming marques from the Asian world. Perhaps they could be called the Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon of the automotive world?

Ssangyong was founded as Hadonghwan Motor Company in 1954 and started by building jeeps for the US Army. It was in 1976 that Hadonghwan produced a variety of special purpose vehicles. After changing its name to the rather comical Dong-A Motor in 1977, it was taken over by Ssangyong Business Group in 1988 and changed its name to SsangYong Motor – 1988 was a Year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar cycle.

In the early 1990s, Daimler-Benz (now DaimlerChrysler) made a capital investment in Ssangyong Motor to establish a calculated alliance and co-operate in technologies, management and distribution. Mercedes-Benz invested a three per cent technology stake in the company, meaning that the Ssangyong Musso would be powered by Mercedes Benz engines. The relationship embraced light commercial vehicles (’91), diesel engines (’93), luxury passenger cars (’93), and gasoline engines (’93). This joining meant that for Ssangyong, its innovations and distribution channels grew. SsangYong Motor had the technological competence to develop vehicles that employed advanced technologies. They then launched them onto the global markets.

In 1997, SsangYong Motor established its presence in three major sectors of the automobile market with its passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, and recreational vehicles. Ssangyong was severely tested by the economic downturn that affected all Asian countries later that year, but during this period, Daewoo Motors bought a controlling stake in Ssangyong, selling it off again in 2000, when Ssangyong established itself as an independent automobile manufacturer again.

Ssangyong currently sells some very stunning vehicles. As a premier manufacturer of sports utility vehicles (SUV) and recreational vehicles (RV), Ssangyong is making an all-out effort to market its quality products as a leading 4X4 brand. The highly regarded Rexton and Actyon lead the charge. However, you will also find at a Ssangyong dealer a very competent sedan named the Chairman, and a classy people mover called the Stavic.

Ssangyong is proving popular in Australia, with one specialist Ssangyong 4×4 club being in existence already. Ssangyong has become involved with the football league and are the sponsors of the (Port Adelaide) Power. Ssangyong also sponsors events in the karting and dirt bike world, including the Ssangyong International Supermoto held in Sydney in 2005, and in the boating world, winning the naming rights to one of the rounds of the F1 Superboat series. And there is a nationwide network of dealers who will help you source parts if you decide to join the ranks of the dragon-riders and drive a Ssangyong.

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