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Geneva show: SsangYong Tivoli out of reach

Smash hit: SsangYong is expecting 100,000 Tivoli sales worldwide this year with the new XLV version on-board, but none of these will come from Australia unless the pricing deadlock between factory and importer is broken.

Stretched XLV version of Tivoli SUV hits Geneva amid SsangYong/Ateco pricing impasse


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2 Mar 2016

AUSTRALIAN SsangYong distributor Ateco Automotive is continuing to push for a competitive pricing deal on the Tivoli compact SUV with the Korean manufacturer, despite new variants – including a stretched version unveiled overnight at the Geneva motor show – bolstering the range overseas.

Official documents show Ateco received homologation approval for the entry-level Tivoli from Australian authorities as far back as October 2014, but the independent Australian importer – which assisted SsangYong in conducting hot-weather testing in the vehicle’s development phase – has refused to bring it to market unless the factory supports its contention that the crossover must start here from less than $20,000 to make it viable in the hot-selling, but ultra-competitive, segment.

Ateco’s Asian brands spokesman Daniel Cotterill this week again expressed frustration at the importer’s inability to offer the Tivoli here, saying “we seem to be going around in circles” with SsangYong Motor Company in South Korea over pricing.

Given Ateco has already received Australian Design Rule certification for the short-wheelbase Tivoli – in both petrol and diesel form – the addition of the XLV unveiled by SsangYong Motor chief executive Johng-sik Choi in Geneva would be a formality, should the deadlock end between manufacturer and distributor.

Mr Choi said the Tivoli – the company’s first city SUV – had fast become its most successful new vehicle, with about 64,000 manufactured and sold around the world last year.

“Tivoli has been praised universally for meeting a wide range of customer requirements, not least its ability to carry five adults in comfort, and with one of the largest boot capacities in its sector,” he said.

“Now SsangYong has gone a step further by launching an extended car to provide even more carrying capacity and practicality – the XLV. This was shown as the XLV Air concept at the IAA motor show in Frankfurt last year, and from the extremely favourable feedback we received, took the decision to put the car into production.

“Following its international debut at Geneva, the SsangYong XLV will go on sale across Europe and around the world from May, and we forecast annual sales from the Tivoli platform including XLV will exceed 100,000 cars this year.”

The XLV – which is derived from eXciting Lifestyle Vehicle – has the same 2600mm wheelbase as the standard Tivoli but a longer body from behind the C-pillar, stretching a further 238mm to 4400mm.

The vehicle remains a five-seater, and there are no apparent changes to occupant space, but luggage capacity increases to 720 litres behind the (split-fold) rear bench – up from 423 litres in the regular model – to make it more appealing to families and recreational users who typically require more cargo room.

As with the regular Tivoli, the XLV is available with a choice of Euro 6-compliant 94kW/160Nm 1.6-litre petrol or 85kW/300Nm 1.6-litre diesel engine, 4x2 or 4x4 driveline, and six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

The manual is linked with a fuel-saving automatic engine idle-stop system, offering combined-cycle fuel consumption as low as 4.5L/100km on the diesel.

Studying the XLV features list indicates that SsangYong’s strategy for a key western export market like Europe involves an extremely high specification.

On the safety front, for example, there are seven airbags (including a driver’s knee airbag), front and rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights, electronic stability control, active rollover protection, an emergency stop signal, tyre pressure monitoring, hill-start assist and ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.

Convenience features extend to a 7.0-inch touchscreen with audio streaming, satellite navigation, USB/Aux/HDMI ports, Bluetooth hands-free, trip computer, electronic tailgate release, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning, heated steering wheel, remote keyless entry, ‘smart key’, six-speaker stereo with steering-mounted controls, perimeter alarm, automatic headlights and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.

As well as more space, the luggage area has practical elements such as a shopping bag hook, luggage net and an underfloor storage area. On the downside, only a temporary spare wheel is provided.

SsangYong also used the Geneva show to unveil a new mid-size SUV concept that previews the next-generation Korando, which sits in the segment above the Tivoli.

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