After a valiant effort, Indian automaker Mahindra eventually had to give up its attempt to bring a small, cheap pickup truck to the United States, but it hasn’t completely given up. Korean automaker Ssangyong, which Mahindra controls, might have a confusing name, but it’s taking the first, tentative steps toward bringing its inexpensive SUVs across the Pacific.
Though an American launch is still years away from actually happening, Ssangyong and Mahindra are investigating whether the Korean automaker has a chance of succeeding in the US market. “Right now what we are doing is very early feasibility study of which products will make sense for the US, what will it take to make those products work, whether it will be financially viable to launch in the US,” said Pawan Goenka, president of Mahindra’s automotive business to Reuters.
Goenka didn’t specify to Reuters when this analysis might end, but he indicated once it was done, the move into the US would still need to be ratified by the company’s board. From there, it could be another two-and-a-half years or more to actually put an SUV on sale.
Mahindra had reportedly been considering the Ssangyong expansion as far back as 2012. Earlier this year, the Korean company began working with consultants to determine a more American-friendly name and determine which vehicles from its range might work best here. The two most likely candidates at the time were the Korando and SLV crossovers.
According to Reuters, Ssangyong has been investing into its products and expanding further into China, possibly even building a factory there. Still, Mahindra already learned from experience that launching in the US was no small task. Can it get things right the second time?