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Korean cuts

Fighting ugly: Stavic price has been reduced twice in five months.

SsangYong slashes up to $4000 on its Rexton, Stavic and Kyron to boost slow sales

9 Aug 2007

SSANGYONG is tackling stagnant sales in Australia by slashing the prices on three of its models – the mid-size 4WD Kyron, the big Rexton SUV and the Stavic people-mover.

Local importer Rapson Holdings has dropped prices on all these models by between $2000 and $4000 – representing discounts of between 5.3 per cent and 8.3 per cent – due to, it claims, favourable exchange rates and also better pricing from the Korean factory.

With Stavic prices having already been reduced by $1000 only five months ago, the controversially-styled people-mover has been slashed by a total of 10.8 per cent this year – from $36,990 to $32,990 for the base diesel-engined model.

Despite the March 1 price “rollback”, sales of the Stavic have continued to slide, with an average of only 18 vehicles sold per month this year, about half what it was selling in 2005.

Prices for the new Actyon compact SUV and Actyon Sports dual-cab ute, which were launched in April, have not altered. The Musso, which is being replaced by the Actyon Sports, and the slow-selling Chairman saloon are also unchanged.

SsangYong sales have fallen well short of expectations since Rapson managing director Keith Timmins predicted big things for the Korean car-maker in this country.

After recording 2645 sales for the year 2005, Mr Timmins said he expected sales to have doubled by now, but instead they have dropped slightly, despite the release of new models such as Actyon and Kyron.

28 center imageLeft: Kyron.

“We have now laid the groundwork to achieve significant volume growth during the next two years,” Mr Timmins said only 18 months ago.

“With so many new models in the pipeline, clearly SsangYong is a brand to watch during 2006-07. It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that our current volumes could more than double in this time.” But SsangYong sold only 2206 vehicles last year and is on a rate this year that would result in a total of about 2400 – a return of fewer than 40 sales for each of its 61 dealers.

SsangYong Australia’s general manager sales and marketing Brad Larkham told GoAuto this week that this latest “major re-positioning of its range” was a bid for “a bit more volume”. He estimated sales would increase to about 3000 units next year.

“The repositioning is more or less to pass on the benefits we got from Korea and, hands up, also to make it a bit more of an attractive package because pricing of cars across the board has slowly come down,” said Mr Larkham. “Our cars are pretty well specced from the start. There’s a lot of our opposition that are speccing-up to match our products.

“With the Stavic, as good a price as it is, the price just got a bit above what our major competitors were at, so we’ve brought the price down in line with things like Kia Carnival.

“I’ve always thought our prices and spec levels were pretty good. I think for us it’s a bit of brand awareness that we’re still working on. We need to keep building on that, but we’ve got pretty limited marketing budgets so it’s not an overnight thing, it’s a slow build-up.” Mr Larkham agreed that sales of the Actyon range have been disappointing since being launched in April, but noted that the company’s expectations were modest, especially for the SUV version.

“The ute’s taken off pretty well, but the SUV’s in a pretty tough segment with the likes of the (Toyota) RAV4 and (Honda) CR-V, so we thought that would take a little longer to get going,” he said.

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