SsangYong New Zealand becomes KGM this month

David Linklater
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Torres is the first new model under the KGM brand.

Torres is the first new model under the KGM brand.

In line with other global markets, the SsangYong brand will become KGM in New Zealand at the end of this month. The move will also mark the launch of the first new model under the KGM name, the Torres medium-sized SUV.

KGM Torres SUV.
Torres will be available in both petrol and pure-electric.

The Korean SsangYong brand has become a familiar one to Kiwi buyers since its introduction in the 1990s. But after a tumultuous period globally over the last few decades - alliances and ownership have ranged from Daimler-Benz to GM Daewoo to Mahindra & Mahindra to SAIC (maker of MG vehicles) - KG Group acquired bankrupt SsangYong in 2022.

KG Group is a Korean giant with more than 20 divisions, including chemical and steel "affiliates".

The KGM (KG Mobility) brand is seen as a fresh start for the company formerly known as SsangYong - hence the flash new Torres SUV, which will be available in both petrol and battery electric versions. KGM has a supply agreement with Chinese company BYD for EV batteries, which will also include a next-gen plug-in hybrid system.

KGM Torres SUV.
Torres right up to date with tech and touchscreens.

“We are thrilled to have the chance to start afresh with KGM and will be investing significantly in the brand," says head of brand marketing Daile Stephens. "We have a lot of faith in the KGM product, which comes with a solid engineering base and produces well-spec’d, reliable vehicles.

“Our aim is to elevate the offering of innovative KGM products in New Zealand with a refreshed brand identity, breaking away from the ordinary,” Stephens says.

SsangYong Korando.
OG SsangYong models like Korando will continue under new KGM brand.

Existing SsangYong models such as the Korando, Tivoli, Rexton SUVs and the Rhino ute (known as Musso in other markets) will continue sans their "SsangYong" badging - although some models sold under KGM branding overseas do retain the distinctive SsangYong "twin dragon" graphic on the grille.

The company says more specific product details will be shared at the official launch in late-March.

The change to KGM follows the acquisition of SsangYong distribution by Inchcape, which also handles Subaru and now LDV in NZ. Inchcape is headquartered in London and employs 19,000 people globally, with 1300 in Australasia.

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