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Positioning - Actyon - (Australia)

April 18th, 2007


The new SsangYong Actyon is set to find a distinctive niche in the highly competitive compact SUV market thanks to its stylish looks and fuel-efficient turbo diesel power.

Actyon will compete in the compact SUV segment the largest and most competitive of the SUV segments, which currently accounts for between 6,000 and 6,700 units per month.

SsangYong will offer both diesel and petrol models and believes Actyon is a tremendous marketing opportunity, particularly with the growing acceptance of diesel in the Australian market.

The segment is currently led by The Toyota RAV 4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester and the Nissan X-Trail, and is primarily dominated by petrol-engined models.

Until now the only diesels playing in the segment are Land Rover Freelander, Jeep Compass and the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Market research carried out by SsangYong has revealed that typical Actyon buyers will be either female between the age of 25 and 39 with a solid income and independence, or young couples with perhaps one small child.

According to SsangYong Australia's general manager sales and marketing, Brad Larkham, the research has been backed up by the early inquiries dealers have received so far.

"This is a real cut through for SsangYong as these consumers have generally not been seen in our dealerships before," Larkham said.

"This represents the real opportunity to spread our influence to a wider audience.

"Our research shows buyers in this market select their vehicles to make a statement of who they are and where they stand in the community," he added.

"The market research has also shown that image is vital to people in the market for a compact SUV.

"This segment is not a white goods purchase, this is a purchase from the heart and there is plenty of emotion involved and SsangYong will be a calculated risk because we are not the typical, well known brand," Larkham added.

"We know that prospects will arrive at our dealerships having done extensive research online and it is clear this group is very savvy," he added.

SsangYong conducted extensive consumer workshops to ensure the correct message would be communicated and targeted to potential buyers.

Groups of males and females were invited to view the vehicles and provide honest and direct feedback.

A summary of the reactions to the Actyon were:

-The look was seen to be attractive and appealing
-Very positive comments related to the modern shape, design, style and size
-Build quality was perceived to be very good with the average score of 3.5 out of 5
-The 4WD aspect was of particular importance to the groups surveyed
-Strong and sturdy were key words used in describing the vehicle

"It was an interesting and extremely valuable insight into consumer perceptions, particularly in relation to the modern appearance and strong build quality," said Larkham.

"Interestingly, when asked about country of origin the groups indicated they believed it was from either Europe or Japan.

"In fact when it was revealed as Korea they were surprised and some indeed were shocked," he added.

"The perception was that a Korean built car would not provide this level of quality," he said.

Initially SsangYong is targeting sales of around 450 Actyon for the remainder of 2007 and believes it will capture around two percent of the compact SUV market during 2008.

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