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SsangYong officially in trouble again! Woes for Korea's number three brand continue as its latest potential buyer is forced to file for bankruptcy

SsangYong's potential buyer goes bankrupt, officially scuttling deal and sending the brand back onto the open market.

SsangYong’s tumultuous years-long ownership saga is set to start over, as the deal locked in in January that was meant to secure the brand’s ownership has fallen through and its buyer forced to file for bankruptcy.

The Korean automaker’s previous owner, Indian conglomerate Mahindra and Mahindra, had been looking to offload it for some time, and a deal was agreed in January to allow the sale of SsangYong to a local South Korean commercial EV builder, Edison Motor.

The deal was seen as a ‘bargain’ at the time, with Mahindra agreeing to sell SsangYong for 305 billion won ($A355.7m), but last month Edison was unable to make good on its payment and the company it formed with creditors to buy SsangYong, 'Edison EV', has now filed for bankruptcy in the Suwon District Court, just south of Seoul.

The deal is now understood to be well and truly cancelled, with Edison Motor’s attempts to salvage the deal scuttled, and the court setting a new deadline for SsangYong to find another owner and re-structure its business, according to The Korea Times.

Edison Motor, a builder of electric buses for the South Korean domestic market, was reportedly struggling to raise the funding for the deal after consecutive operating losses. It had grand plans to accelerate SsangYong’s transformation into a fully electric vehicle company and turn its fortunes around inside a five-year window after decades of issues.

The continued ownership scuffle for South Korea’s third-biggest car company comes as it powers ahead with plans to launch new-generation versions of its most popular nameplates. The Korando e-Motion is set to launch imminently, with a fully electrified Musso and Rexton understood to be in the works, based on the J100 concept shown last year, and a smaller electric SUV under the ‘U100’ working name which will be the first vehicle as part of a technology partnership with Chinese giant BYD. The previously diesel-heavy brand planned to have six fully electric or ‘eco-friendly’ vehicles on the market by 2026.

Edison Motor had ambitious EV-based turn-around plans for the embattled SsangYong. Edison Motor had ambitious EV-based turn-around plans for the embattled SsangYong.

When the Edison Motor deal initially hit the rocks last month, SsangYong’s Australian spokesperson told CarsGuide nothing would be changing for the brand’s local division from an operational point of view if the deal fell through.

SsangYong’s future buyer could now include one of the previous interested parties, which included SM Group, South Korea's 38th largest corporate entity with assets in the chemical, construction, shipping, and broadcasting industry, which had the cash reserves to fund the deal, or the US-based Cardinal One Motors which would use funding from North American dealer groups with a view to shifting SsangYong’s focus to the US market.

SsangYong may be down but it's definitely not out, with other well-heeled investors lining up prior to the Edison Motor deal. SsangYong may be down but it's definitely not out, with other well-heeled investors lining up prior to the Edison Motor deal.

SsangYong is funding its move to a new EV-friendly construction facility via the sale of its ancestral factory of 42 years in the city of Pyongtaek, a move which at the time proved popular with potential investors.

Watch this space as we stay up-to-date on SsangYong’s ownership woes.