SsangYong acquisition by Edison Motors falls through – Korean automaker back to looking for new buyer

SsangYong Motor can’t seem to catch a lucky break. In January, the beleaguered automaker, which filed for bankruptcy in late 2020, was reported to have been acquired by a South Korean consortium led by electric bus maker Edison Motors in a deal said to be worth 304.8 billion won (RM1.06 billion).

That has now fallen through, with news reports indicating that the purchase has been axed following the consortium’s failure to complete the payment for the acquisition before the deadline. Following a 10% upfront payment, the remaining 274.3 billion won (RM952 million) was supposed to have been paid by March 25. However, the payment was never made, effectively breaking the terms of the contract.

As such, SsangYong remains majority-owned by Mahindra & Mahindra, which acquired a 74.65% percent stake in the carmaker back in 2011. In 2020, the Indian automaker said it would no longer be injecting funds into SsangYong and had asked it to look elsewhere for other means of funding. It later said it would be willing to let go of its ownership stake in SsangYong.

SsangYong sales have been ailing for a long while. Reports indicate that it sold 84,496 vehicles in 2021, down 21% from the year before. It has however been coming out with new vehicle designs, having introduced the new Korando SUV and Korando e-Motion and teased the J100, which it said was due out this year.

Where this puts Edison’s plans for expansion into the passenger EV domain is unknown. The company, which has a “We will overtake Tesla” motto and dreams of being an “Apple of the EV industry,” previously said it was looking to transform SsangYong to an EV-focused carmaker – it will now have to look elsewhere for that growth. Meanwhile, SsangYong officials have stated they are back to looking for a new buyer.