In the past, SsangYong has made cars which were as visually challenging to understand as their nameplates: Rexton, Actyon, and Rodius. In fact, for decades, the brand seemed to look for inspiration from the West only to have the finished product look like something that was subjected to a Korean cultural blender. Well, SsangYong is putting that past behind them and now all eyes are on the double dragons and this time, it’s for a good reason.
With eyes focused on becoming the most innovative and respected Korean automotive company, SsangYong understands that a strong development philosophy is paramount to achieving this goal. And they are doing so with the Robust, Specialty, Premium or RSP philosophy.
With a history of making rugged all-wheel drive vehicles, robustness is something ingrained in every SsangYong. In fact, most 10-15 year old cars still running Korea’s roads are SsangYongs. Carrying on that tradition, the company wants to focus on designing cars which are not only durable in structure, but masculine in design as well.
Understanding that the company doesn’t have the same economies of scale as its other competitors as well, SsangYong has committed itself to a specialized line of products. Again, leveraging their history, they’ve focused on rugged body-on-frame SUVs and high-riding crossovers. By taking this approach as opposed to doing things shotgun, it enables the company to develop a long lasting relationship with customers via repeat purchase and in turn provide the basis for future product design.
Hand-in-hand with their specialist nature, SsangYong is now pushing for a more premium feel. They will utilize the latest technology while remaining steadfast in their core values when it comes to product design.
Through the Robust, Specialty, Premium philosophy, SsangYong is embracing its Korean heritage instead of simply looking to the West for design. This is found in the company’s “Nature Born 3-Motion” language. This three-pronged design language first debuted on the Tivoli and will be found in all SsangYong models moving forward. Using Korea as their main source of inspiration, they have identified three key words: dignified, dynamic, and rhythmical.
Dignified Motion will be seen in the company’s flagship offerings. It takes motifs from the quiet magnificence of nature where there’s a sense of perfect order and intricate details. Exuding a feeling of robustness and finesse like that of a Korean pine or traditional Korean patchwork called Pojagi, SsangYong believes that premium products also carry the same feel. This is realized with the LIV-1 Concept or the Limitless Interface Vehicle. The successor to the mid-sized Rexton, the LIV-1 Concept will debut in production form later this year (codenamed the Y400) at the Mondial de l’Automobile or Paris Motor Show in October.
Next, Dynamic Motion will be used to solidify the brand’s mid-sized offerings. It takes the creative energy and dynamics of the human body and its spirit to rise up to new challenges. The Korean martial art of Taekwondo for example, embodies strength; something the company sees in itself through its own history and something they want everyone to see in their products. This is previewed by the SIV-2 Concept or Smart Interface Vehicle, the Korando’s eventual replacement. Called the C300 for now, the SIV-2 Concept is poised to hit the streets in production form by 2019.
Finally, Rhythmical Motion takes on the energetic movements of nature. The image of crashing waves, for one, evokes vitality and embodies the natural flow of nature. This forms the design foundation of SsangYong’s small cars and was the first one to be shown in production form through the Tivoli. The simple, bold front-end, angular and strong character lines, and wide C-pillar are all trademarks of this design.
SsangYong is certainly open about their desire to become South Korea’s Land Rover. That may seem like a tall order for now, but clearly things are headed in the right direction. In its design, the company and its team of designers have worked to offer attractive yet robust aesthetics be it interpreted through dignity, dynamism, or rhythm. Perhaps it’s a good time to take SsangYong seriously and that starts with their head-turning designs.