Bassadone Automotive Group has dropped its plans to bring DFSK’s budget microvans to the UK from China, following a management reshuffle.
Bassadone took a stand at the 2017 Commercial Vehicle Show to display a selection of DFSK’s LCVs, having set up a new distribution company, Vehicle Import and Distribution, to run the UK operation. The vehicles had been expected to arrive in the UK later last year.
DFSK UK (part of Vestatec Automotive Distribution) previously brought the microvans to the UK, starting with the Loadhopper in 2011, but ceased to import them in 2016.
Bassadone, which owns Ssangyong Motor UK, is now focusing its resources exclusively on importing the Korean manufacturer’s range to the UK – including a new Musso pick-up truck based on the Rexton SUV, which will go on sale in mid-2018.
A spokesman for Ssangyong Motor UK told What Van?: “A lot more effort will go into the pick-up market [going forward].”
The pick-up launched in South Korea in January badged as the Rexton Sport but the spokesman said it would carry the Musso name in all other markets.
It is powered by a Euro 6 2.2-litre, 181hp turbo-diesel engine delivering 420Nm of torque, which is an uprated version of the drivetrain in the current Musso that replaced the Korando Sports pick-up in early 2017 and delivers 178hp and 400Nm of torque.
The spokesman said Ssangyong would no longer sell a car-derived Rexton in the UK but would continue to market its commercial version of the smaller Korando SUV.
Ssangyong Motor UK has now confirmed the appointment of Nick Laird as managing director. Laird had served as acting MD since October 2017, when he replaced Paul Williams in the role.
Commenting on his appointment, Laird said: “With an array of versatile and quality products on the way, I’m confident that Ssangyong will grow substantially in the coming years.”
Meanwhile the importer’s parent company Bassadone has appointed John Chisholm to the newly created position of director, financial services. Chisholm, who was previously heads of financial services at Mitsubishi UK, will be responsible for the group’s financial services across Europe, with a particular emphasis on building up contract hire business.