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New SsangYong Stavic looking good for DSI

That’s better: SsangYong’s new-look Stavic is expected to be launched at the Geneva motor show.

Aussie transmission-maker might get a fillip from promising SsangYong Stavic

31 Jan 2013

THE ugly duckling of international motoring might turn into a beautiful swan for Australian transmission supplier DSI International, which might get to supply automatic transmissions for the new-generation SsangYong Stavic – the good-looking replacement for the unloved discontinued Stavic people-mover sold in Australia since 2004.

DSI’s factory at Albury already exports six-speed automatic transmissions for the South Korean-built SsangYong Korando compact SUV and Actyon ute sold on global markets, including Australia.

The same transmission is expected to turn up in diesel-powered versions of the new SsangYong people-mover – called variously Stavic and Rodius – which SsangYong has now teased in official drawings ahead of an expected Geneva motor show unveiling in March and 2013 showroom roll out.

SsangYong’s new Australian importer, Ateco Automotive, says the new vehicle is likely to arrive in local showrooms later this year, and would retain the Stavic name.

The Korean company, which was saved from bankruptcy by Indian manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra in 2011, has announced that the Rodius will be powered by 3.2-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines.

28 center imageFrom top: Sketch of 2013 SsangYong Stavic current SsangYong Stavic.

The diesel is the same 114kW/360Nm four-cylinder unit as employed in the Korando and Actyon – the only SsangYong models still on sale in Australia after the demise of the Rexton large SUV and outdated Stavic.

Mercifully, the new Stavic/Rodius appears to have mainstream styling, dispensing with the Stavic’s polarising design with its odd pointy nose and weird squared-off back that was said to be based on the design of a luxury yacht.

"Based on its design philosophy ‘robust, premium, specialty’, the new front line emphasises Ssangyong’s boldness and its spacious body combines dynamics with sophistication," SsangYong says in its media release accompanying the images.

"Styled to be fit for outdoor, off-road driving as well as on-road driving with its streamline-shape of the radiator grille and headlamp, the new Rodius/Stavic also offers a whole package of convenience and practical values by fulfilling various needs from business, leisure, and travel." The reference to off-road driving indicates the vehicle is likely to come equipped with all-wheel drive, but GoAuto understands the new model will not replace the Rexton SUV as well as the old Stavic.

Ateco Automotive, which took over the SsangYong reins from Sime Darby in October last year, said the Rodius had not been formally confirmed for Australia, but spokesman Daniel Cotterill added: “It’s on the cards for us.”

Mr Cotterill said the new Stavic reflected the new-found energy in SsangYong since the takeover by Mahindra which had injected considerable funds into research and development of new models.

He said SsangYong’s new styling direction was more mainstream, appealing to a wider audience.

Ateco has been running out of old SsangYong stock and starting afresh with more highly specified models in the Korando, Actyon Sports and Actyon Tradie lines.

Last year, SsangYong sold 1590 vehicles in Australia – down one per cent on the previous year – with sales dominated by Korando (750 units) and Actyon (633).

The Stavic ground to a halt in Australia last year, never having captured the hearts and minds of Australian buyers. Its best month of sales was 60 units just after its launch in 2005, but it has sold in only single figures in recent times, with many used as taxis in Queensland.

Australian automatic transmission designer and maker DSI (Drive Systems International), which is owned by Chinese car-maker Geely, makes transmissions for both SsangYong and Mahindra.

It also has plants in China that supply that market with front-wheel drive automatic transmissions for Geely and other car-makers.

DSI designs and engineers its transmissions at its technical centre at Clayton, in suburban Melbourne.

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