Ssangyong will use the slogan ‘My first SUV’ to sell its Tivoli, a small, higher-riding town-and-around model that will go up against new arrivals like the Mazda CX-3 and Jeep Renegade when it arrives in New Zealand this year.
It is not known if the Ssangyong distributors here will adopt the same marketing line, but Rick Cooper, chairman of Ssangyong importer Great Lake Motor Distributors (GLMD), believes the Tivoli will be a serious competitor in the segment.
“It’s a stylish and economical compact SUV which will fit the New Zealand market nicely,” he said. The segment is one of the fastest growing – so is the Ssangyong brand itself, last year up almost 50 per cent on 2013. A consumer survey rated Ssangyong among the top five brands for driver satisfaction.
Cooper – a former mayor of Taupo – believes 2015 will be another big sales year for the South Korean carmaker, which has used All Black great Colin Meads as its frontman for some years.”We have Tivoli and shortly we are introducing a variation to Rexton, which will grow our sales in the large SUV segment,” he said.
“We are also looking forward to an automatic transmission for our LDV van range, plus further developments to the range later this year. Over the next couple of years we will continue to invest in the brand and grow our market share.
“The word is certainly getting out there that these quality vehicles are a great value proposition and complement the typical Kiwi lifestyle nicely.”
Cooper said he would continue to develop the SsangYong Racing Series for which GLMD received an international innovation award from parent Ssangyong Motor Company. “Many other Ssangyong distributors around the world are showing interest (in the concept) and utilising footage of the series in their own markets,” he said.
The Tivoli has just been unveiled in Seoul but will go global at the Geneva motor show in March. It was developed over four years and its styling is a marked departure from the brand’s somewhat odd design history.
Expect it to come with LED daytime running lights, alloy wheels, a sunroof and roof rails. Inside it will get a flat-bottomed steering wheel, 18cm touch screen infotainment system with a reversing camera, and input for portable devices like iPod. The digital display on the dashboard can be customised with six different coloured backing lights.
Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine good for 93kW/157Nm and driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or optional Aisin-sourced automatic. Ssangyong claims town-and-around fuel use of 8.3 litres/100km (35mpg) for the manual.