SEOUL -- A year after buying a controlling interest in Korea's SsangYong Motor Co., Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. has fired the company's CEO and named a new one.
CEO Soh Jin Kwan, who had held the post since 1999, was relieved of his duties at a Saturday, Nov. 5, board meeting. Soh, 53, had been with the company since 1986.
Choi Hyung Tak, managing director of product development and director of r&d, was named CEO. He has been with the company for 17 years and is 48.
The post of president is held by Jiang Zhiwei, an executive from SAIC.
A company spokesman said the decision to replace Soh stemmed mainly from questions about the company's recent poor sales performance. In addition, the board had questions about Soh's "global leadership."
"SsangYong needs a new leader who is young and dynamic," and has the engineering capabilities and international competitive edge to reach the global market, said SAIC President Chen Hong in a prepared statement.
"I expect the new management team to strengthen the core competence by cutting costs and improving new product development," Chen said.
From January-October 2005, SsangYong's sales slipped 0.6 percent to 111,799 units from 112,497 in the year-ago period.
Exports nearly doubled, to 55,006 units from 27,930. Domestic sales, however, plummeted 32.8 percent, to 56,793 units from 84,567 in the year-ago period.
SsangYong makes several SUVs, including the Rexton, Korando and Musso SUT, and the big Rodius. It also makes a single sedan, the luxury New Chairman. It recently introduced the Kyron medium SUV and Actyon small SUV.
The shrinking domestic sales hit all of its models except the New Chairman, Kyron and Actyon.
SAIC holds a 50.91 percent stake in SsangYong.
You may e-mail Norman Thorpe at