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SsangYong to kick off local suspension tuning

Spring in your step: SsangYong’s Musso (below) is likely to be the first model to receive an Australian suspension tune, followed by the brand’s other models including the Tivoli, XLV (left) and Rexton.

Bespoke Aussie suspension set-up rolling out to all SsangYong models, eventually

SsangYong logo30 Jul 2018

SSANGYONG Motors Australia will offer a local suspension tune for all models in its line-up, starting with the Mussa pick-up, as part of the brand’s reintroduction to the Australian market. 
 
Speaking to Australian journalists at the company’s headquarters in South Korea last week, SsangYong executive director of export markets Daniel Rim said testing will begin next month Down Under ahead of an on-sale date in November.
 
“We are developing a European version of the suspension tune, we are developing an Australian version of it,” he said.
 
“Typically global players do three tunings – an Asian version, a European version (and a US version) – but we have to have a European version and an Australian (tune).
 
“We are shipping cars next month to get tuning development underway, so we’ll have cars on the ground to do that next month.”
 
Compatriot South Korean car-makers Hyundai and Kia also adapt suspension settings in some of their vehicles for ride comfort and compliance on Australian roads, which has worked favourably in the past.
 
However, SsangYong’s suspension tuning will likely be phased in, with the initial launch range of the Tivoli, XLV and Rexton SUVs missing out on a local adaptation in favour of completing work on the Musso pick-up first.
 
SsangYong Australia managing director Tim Smith said the company was yet to lock in suppliers for the suspension work, but the tune would be a boon for the returning brand.
 
“We want be able to offer more consumer choice to tailor the product to what the consumer is going to do,” he said. “So that's probably our point of difference.
 
“As well as spending more time not just selling cars, we actually want to have a long-term engagement with the customers and our product, I think, because of our strong USPs (unique selling points) like towing off-road etcetera, we want to tailor that product.
 
“Those are the sorts of things we’re taking about right now and we’re talking to head office and the engineers about what we can and can’t do.”
 
As for safety, SsangYong is expecting its Tivoli and XLV small SUVs to carry over its four-star Euro New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) rating to Australia, thanks to the inclusion of standard autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
 
Mr Rim said it was still too far out from launch to confirm exactly what safety equipment would be offered in Australian-spec vehicles, but the brand is balancing its feature list with price.
 
“We are finalising the feature sets, we are looking into offering that (standard active safety) in Australian trim as well,” he said. 
 
“We understand safety is one of the key success factors in Australia, so we try to offer as many safety features as possible. 
 
“(But) we still have to make this product affordable to a wide range of consumers so we are looking at this. In the next month or so we will have an announcement as to feature sets and pricing.”
 
Meanwhile, the Rexton large SUV is rated as a five-star car in South Korea, while Mr Rim also indicated that the company was targeting maximum safety ratings for future product such as the incoming new-generation Korando and Hyundai Santa Fe-rivalling monocoque large SUV.

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