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Home  /  December 2022  /  Comment

Would you buy a $50k SUV from the Dong-A Motor company?

Thought so.

Anyway, the Dong-A Motor Company became the SsangYong Motor Company in 1988. Then in 2009 SsangYong went into receivership. In 2011 the Indian tractor conglomerate, Mahindra & Mahindra, bought it and by 2020 it was belly up again.

In comes South Korea’s KG Group (philosophy: “KG will build a forest together, instead of building its own castle” – I must have missed something in the translation) and last month, the company formerly known as Dong-A Motor, got out of life support.

Now while you might have thought spending 50 large on a Dong was not your brightest idea, think about spending it with a company now owned by a conglomerate that also owns a chemical business, a country club which is “a garden of love where you and I communicate happily with an open heart”, Holly’s Mall and a fried chicken outfit which “makes happy world with honest food”.

Maybe that’s why Australian buyers like the car/SUV/ute but hate everything else about SsangYong.

Let’s take the case of reader JD from rural Victoria. “My family and I have been happy and very satisfied SsangYong drivers since we bought our first new SUV in 2008,” JD writes, noting of course that the purchase of the SsangYong lived up to Dong Motors’ new owners’ promises of “happy world”.

“We worked in the Flinders Ranges in northern SA and the vehicle met our on and off-road needs perfectly. In 2010 we bought our second new Actyon and had excellent, trouble-free motoring since.

“Our trouble-free run came to a halt on September 19 this year when the number four glow plug stripped its thread and ejected from the cylinder head.

“Our vehicle is too new not to have major parts available and it is still in excellent condition inside and out, with only 155,000 km on the clock.”

Twenty readers, etc, you know by now that this story doesn’t end in a garden of love where JD and the old Dong company communicate happily with an open heart. Nup. In the process, JD finds out that the SsangYong he bought in 2010 – which he was told was a demonstrator – is actually a 2008 model.

Turns out, when you look online, lots of Dong customers have had similar service experiences. So, we wrote a couple of times to the PR person at SsangYong with no reply. S

So, we wrote to another two of the top Dongs also with no response.

So, this week we’ll write to our good friends at the ACCC and any other Dong regulators and see if we can help out Mr and Mrs JD and other long-suffering SsangYong owners.

There’s a reason SsangYong is the 27th best-selling brand in Australia and now you know what it is.

Our friends at the Poker Club of America have been asking the big questions like: Will there be any Porsche bargains left in 2023?

“Seemingly, no car has been immune to the inflationary pressures of too much money chasing too few Porsches. While just about everything has gone up in value, some cars remain conspicuously good values.”

Three Porkers that the PCA still see as a deal are: the 1989-91 944 S2 Cabriolet (from $20k to $60k in Australia), the 1988 924S ($3k to $30k) and the 2005-2012 987 Boxster ($30k to $85k).

But if you just got the big payout from the company, why not have a look at the 2019 Bugatti Chiron Sport RM that Sotheby’s are running over the block at their Miami auction today. Look, $4m to $5m is neither here nor there. It’s the price of a semi in Bondi, a nice four-bedder in Kooyong Rd or the city of Adelaide.

This one of 60 comes in the subtle exposed carbon fibre black over Italian red. It differs from the Tesla and the Dong by virtue of its aluminium alloy 8.0-litre, quad-turbocharged W-16 (ie, 16 cylinders) engine that puts out 1100kw that will gently take you to 100kmh from standstill in just 4.4 seconds – on the way to an electronically limited top speed of 420kmh.

I think somewhere close to $5m is the right money, given a similar Bugatti Sport in Beluga black with an Italian red interior sold for $4.9m at Amelia Island this year and the factory is quoting $5.6m for a brand new one.

But you know car dealers. Want it on the road with a few extras like wheels? That’ll be $6m thanks.

Many of you read this column so you can get the latest on F1, so that you can sound like you know what you’re talking about with other Drive to Survive fans (watch on Foxtel). OK. Hold on. Here we go: just retired, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, 35, of Thurgovia, Gnomeland, looks like starting a rallying career.

Despite drivers like Mad Max and Lando Norris hating the format, the gnomes at F1 will go with six sprint races next year in a bid to attract younger viewers. Noddy cars would be a bigger attraction; and no big surprises in the F1 Power Rankings, with Mad Max leading Charles Leclerc from George Russell and Lando Norris on equal third, leaving the Hamster in fifth.

Next week be sure to tune in for our annual best Christmas, Hanukkah, Las Posadas Solstice, Yule, Christmastide, Soyal, Kwanzaa and Festivus presents for the very special petrol, diesel but not electric head in your life.

We won’t be recommending the Edsel genuine leather body wallet, the Leopard Print steering wheel cover, the Mercedes perfume, the Porsche Wanker T-shirt (hmmm … let me think about that), the fake sunroof, the Prius T-shirt, the Alfa Romeo carbon fibre skateboard or a real Tesla.

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