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Ssangyong Motor launches Tivoli diesel to intensify competition
Ssangyong Motor Co., owned by India's Mahindra & Mahindra, said Monday that it started selling the diesel version of its popular Tivoli crossover SUV as it pushes to provide more customer choices in the fast-growing market.

The latest Tivoli, which was unveiled in the mountainous town of Inje east of Seoul for a media test drive, runs on the e-XDi160 diesel engine that meets the toughened Euro 6 emission standards.

It's an engine that Ssangyong Motor spent three years developing, according to the company.

It can produce a maximum of 115 horsepower and 306 kilogram-meters torque, while its fuel efficiency stands at 15.3 kmpl, the company said.

"The diesel version of the Tivoli is a car that combines the highest-level product standards in designs, safety and convenience of the gasoline model with the powertrain optimized to driving conditions here in South Korea to meet the need for both functions and fuel efficiency," Choi Johng-sik, CEO of Ssangyong Motor, said. 

The diesel version is designed to demonstrate the largest torque during the 1,500-2,500 rpm, the most frequently used range for actual driving, in order to deliver better response and driving performance, Ssangyong Motor said.

The automaker expects that the diesel version could entice more customers by appealing to them with better fuel efficiency. It expects to intensify competition even with foreign brands in the same segment.

Its main competing models include the QM3 by Renault Samsung Motors Co. and the Trax by GM Korea Co., along with such foreign brands as the Mini, the BMW 118d and the Golf. The fuel efficiency of the Tivoli diesel is lower than the QM3 which can run 18.5 kilometers per a liter of fuel. 

The prices of the Tivoli diesel range from 20.45 million won ($18,174) to 24.95 million won depending on options and trims.

The diesel model came after Ssangyong Motor launched its gasoline version in January equipped with modern design, roomy passenger and cargo space, and affordable prices compared with other competing models.

Market response has been better than expected for the Tivoli, the first model unveiled by Ssangyong Motor since it was purchased by Mahindra & Mahindra in 2011. In June, the automaker sold 6,039 units of the Tivoli, which include 3,630 units in domestic sales.

Shin Young-sik, a managing director of Ssangyong Motor, dismissed concerns that the success of the Tivoli diesel could come at the expense of the gasoline model, saying that both are expected to grow as "independent" sub-segment vehicles.

"We expect the sales ratio between the two models will be around half and half, with each likely taking a solid footing in the B-segment SUV market down the road," he told reporters. (Yonhap)