SEOUL - Ssangyong will launch its version of the last-generation Mercedes-Benz E class in September. Ssangyong named the car Chairman.
'There is a surprisingly buoyant market in Korea for large executive cars,' said Ken Greenley, the designer behind Ssangyong's W-coupe concept sports car at the Seoul auto show.
Ssangyong did not show the Chairman at the show, but it released some details of the vehicle.
Mercedes has licensed Ssangyong to sell the car in Asia only. Mercedes owns 10 percent of Ssangyong and provided the technology for the car.
The Chairman is in pilot production. A video revealed much of the Chairman's appearance. Its styling is closer to the Mercedes S class than the current E class.
It is based on the last-generation Mercedes-Benz E class, and it will be powered by a Mercedes-Benz 3.2-liter, 220ps, straight-six engine.
The Chairman has taken 500 billion won ($560 million) and four and a half years to bring to market. The company plans to build 45,000-50,000 units a year.
The W-coupe sports car concept was designed to show the possibilities of the old E class platform. There are no plans to produce the sports car, Greenley said, but Ssangyong's prototype shop 'could build the car at a rate of about 300 a year.'
Ssangyong continues to be the subject of takeover rumors. The company has debts of $3.9 billion and it sold only 78,710 units last year. Ssangyong has lost money since 1992.
The company is seeking overseas partners. Ssangyong chiefs have said that up to 50 percent of the company is for sale.