(Bloomberg) -- KG Mobility Co., formerly known as Ssangyong Motor Co., aims to diversify its portfolio of clean vehicles and triple annual sales to 320,000 units in the next three years. 

Chairman Kwak Jae-Sun said the automaker should post a profit for 2023, its first in seven years, and outlined ambitions for the company to be South Korea’s most popular electric-vehicle and sport-utility vehicle brand.

“We don’t want the title of a loss-making automaker again,” Kwak said at a press conference Thursday. 

KG Mobility sold about 65,000 vehicles in the first half this year, up around 37% from the same period in 2022. Almost half of those were gasoline-powered Torres SUVs. On Wednesday, the company released an electric version, the Torres EVX, which costs about 40 million won ($30,000) after subsidies. The Torres SUV range should help lift KG Mobility to an operating profit, Kwak said. 

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KG Mobility plans to release an electric pick-up truck in 2024, a hybrid vehicle in 2025 and a new EV called the F100 in 2026. The company also wants to increase market share in commercial vehicles, especially electric buses in Southeast Asia after buying Edison Motors Co., Kwak said. 

“All countries in Southeast Asia are talking about environmental problems, such as serious air pollution,” said Kwak, who became chairman of Ssangyong a year ago, about six months before it was renamed. “Almost all local governments in the region are trying to convert buses into electric vehicles.” 

Next year, KG Mobility plans to resume electric-bus production at a factory that was owned by Edison in Gunsan, South Korea, he said. It also intends to build a plant for assembling battery packs in Changwon. The company last month signed an agreement to build a battery plant with China’s BYD Co. in South Korea, though it hasn’t said where or provided investment details.

Kwak said Chinese battery technology is the most suitable for its SUVs for now. The Torres EVX uses a BYD battery.

“We should select batteries based on their capability, not the nationality of the makers,” he said. “I’m not saying we are sticking to Chinese batteries, but I feel China’s EV technology, including batteries, doesn’t lag Korea’s.”

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