Ssangyong invites auto expert to take the wheel

Ssangyong UK executive chairman Gerard O’Toole has appointed Ken Forbes as the company’s new managing director. Forbes joins from publisher EMAP Automotive, where he was the managing director.

Forbes has a strong background in the UK automotive industry, having joined the Ford Motor Company as a graduate trainee before spending a number of years in management there.

On leaving Ford, Forbes spent 13 years with Citroën including five as sales director. He left in 2001, as Citroën recorded all-time sales records for cars and vans, to take the position at EMAP Automotive.

Ssangyong has established a nationwide dealership in the UK over the past two years, but the company is now poised for further growth with the introduction of three models in addition to the Rodius range and the Rexton range, which includes a 4×4 and a 4×4 Sports Pick-Up. One of Forbes’s jobs will be to oversee the doubling of Ssangyong’s network, which currently stands at 53 dealerships.

For the past three years, Ssangyong has sponsored the annual horse trials in Chatsworth, using the connection with the competition to boost its image and sales operations in Europe.

Shanghai Automotive acquired Ssangyong in October last year. The acquisition of South Korea’s fourth-largest car maker made Shanghai Motor the first Chinese company to own a major concern in the world’s fifth-largest car market.

The contract for a 48.9 per cent stake in Ssangyong cost $500m (£290m).

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