Home  /  January 2024  /  Comment

The Dong-A Motor Company was formed from two companies, the Ha Dong-hwan Motor Workshop (established in 1954) and Dongbang Motor Co (established in 1962).

Thankfully in 1986 they changed their name to SsangYong – or in Australian, Double Dragon. My advice to management would have been to go with the Double Dragon moniker, although Dongbang has a certain je ne sais quoi about it.

Anyway, in 2009 Double Dragon lost $100m, was put into receivership and – like all management everywhere – Dongbang execs blamed workers and cut 2600 jobs. Lacking an understanding of the company’s new purpose, vision and values, employees revolted.

Friends when workers go on strike in the land of the Mugunghwa (or the rose of Sharon and Wayne) it’s not like, say, the recent industrial action at Services Australia, based in Canberra (official flower, the Royal Bluebell; unofficial flower, the strychnine tree, also known as nux vomica, poison nut, semen strychnos, which causes – like most things emanating from Canberra – convulsions, paralysis and even death). There, the most ferocious the staff got was to take early knock-offs and various other work bans.

The workers at SsangYong’s main factory at 150-3 Chilgoe-dong, Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi-do (just down the road from the Peace Music shop) not only pulled on a strike but they barricaded themselves inside their workplace, saying: “We will fight to the death should police forcefully break up the occupation.”

Maybe the gang at Services Australia should have tried this. Not surprisingly things got a bit tense after the management team shut off the water, food, electricity and medicine, and riot police and private security persons surrounded the building. So the lads in the factory used slingshots, threw metal pipes and molotov cocktails at police, which the coppers thought was a bit rough, so they pulled out the electroshock weapons and were said to have dropped corrosive chemicals on the strikers.

After 77 days things went back to normal (for South Korea). Only a few dead.

Dongbang, Double Dragon, Dong-a-Motor has gone belly up and has changed owners more often than the Australian government has promised high-speed trains from Sydney to Melbourne. Remember readers, the VFT, nuclear energy, nuclear subs, free childcare, the transition to sustainable power, free swimming lessons and free Coopers Sparkling (if you are over 18) are always only 10 years away.

Anyway, it seems like SsangYong is now owned by KG Mobility and its boss is Yong Won Jeong. Now you can see where all this is heading.

Mr Yong has an unhappy Musso owner here in Acacia pycnantha Benth land. Reader 11, Richard Temme, paid some of his hard-earned for a new Musso from the John McGrath Auto Group in Canberra on January 5, 2023. Mr McGrath also sells Citroens, Peugeots, GMSVs, Isuzus, Kias, LDVs, Mahindras, Maseratis and trucks and buses to Services Australia execs.

A few months later Richard went to start the Musso, but the immobiliser light was flashing, meaning no start. He got SsangYong Assist on the blower which then sent an NRMA serviceperson to check out the vehicle. The NRMA person had no luck so got it towed it to Mr McGrath’s Philip garage – Philip being a suburb of Canberra, much like Gyeonggi-do is a suburb of Seoul.

“Over the next two days, I rang four times to be told the vehicle had not been looked at,” Richard says.

“After I emailed the SsangYong office in Sydney, the vehicle was then looked at a week later. After ringing again, I found out that nothing further had been done, and that the service department was waiting for a response from the Sydney office.

“On November 24 I sent a letter to John McGrath asking for my money back (also copied to SsangYong Customer Support, with no response).”

“On Friday 22nd December I picked up the vehicle from John McGrath after 53 days as it was ‘fixed’. On Sunday morning 24th December I went to start the car – same problem, flashing immobiliser light so it wouldn’t start. I waited until Wednesday 27th (when McGrath’s would be open), contacted SsangYong Assist and had it towed back to McGraths where it now sits.”

Naturally we got on the job. First email went to John Taylor, SsangYong PR and product planning manager.

After waiting a few days, we emailed his boss and SsangYong CEO in Australia, Chris Mandile. No reply.

Next stop is Yong Won Jeong and the directors of KG Mobility. But in the meantime, I would put off any Dong-a-Motor purchases.

OK, our road safety influencer of the year award goes to Acting Inspector (soon to be commissioner) Mark Richardson of the ACT Police. Talking of the drivers that did illegal burnouts on public roads over this month’s Summernats tyre and smoke festival, Richo suggested they “just haven’t evolved very far. I think they’ve really plateaued as a species or subspecies of the human race”.

“It’s the moron tourism that we get. I mean, if we set up an IQ testing station at the border, instead of a vehicle testing station, we would probably halve our problems.” Tell us what you really think, Richo.

Richo was clearly talking about tyre burners like the 22-year-old driver of a black Holden Commodore who was doing burnouts metres from pedestrians. When Richo’s team members spoke to the driver they discovered that the man had two children and two adult passengers in the vehicle at the time of the offence.

Talking of how to hide your real power, Classic Throttle Shop have a 2003 Renault Clio V6 Phase 2 on the floor. Before you vomit, this is no ordinary snail-eating special. Non, non. Sitting under the beautiful blue bonnet is a Porsche-tuned 190kW V6 unenvironmentally sound engine. One of about 340 right-hand drives, this one comes with 45cm “lightweight alloys on each corner, massive signature silver air ducts behind the doors that feed the stonking great V6, the original twin barrel exhaust and chrome badging, all in fantastic condition”. Recent British sales around $130k, this one should be yours for $125k-plus.

Don’t worry about the Pebble Beach car and sparling Californian wine show, you need to get pumped for the biennial Australian Clubs MX-5 Natmeet No XV in Toowoomba (national flower of Queensland – the banana) from April 11 to 15.



Support great journalism and subscribe 

Recent articles from this author

Article Search