Korean carmaker SsangYong had 300 percent growth in New Zealand last year. And it's confident that signing up one of New Zealand's great hardmen, Colin Meads, as the face of its new Actyon Sports Ute will help maintain that level of growth in 2012. A nationwide television and radio advertising campaign featuring Sir Colin driving the new ute, which sports the number plate Pine T, through farmland, kicked off last week. Of course, as most ad folk know, rugby players aren't renowned as being good actors, which can often make for some fairly wooden performances. And Colin Meads, who also fronts ads for Silberhorn, is no exception. But, according to SsangYong’s NZ’s general manager Deon Cooper, the campaign, which was created by an inhouse team and a few contractors, has been received very well so far and they're struggling to keep up with demand.
"Our SUV’s and Utilities are tough, reliable and great value and with Sir Colin on board we are confident we can show Kiwis that SsangYong is a brand they can trust and that we’re here to stay," says Cooper. "It is exciting times for SsangYong and already sales are taking off after the launch."
Meads, who is friends with the owner of the Kiwi importer headquartered in Taupo, now gets to drive an Actyon Sports SPR 4WD and, as part of the deal, SsangYong had to agree to support grassroots rugby in New Zealand and in particular King Country Rugby Union.
"This partnership is a great way for me to give back to something that is really important to me," he says. "This is what I am passionate about. King Country Rugby Union has been a great support to my family and I throughout my rugby career."
SsangYong NZ also recently took on a three year sponsorship with the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.
Price is obviously a big driver and Cooper says the vehicles cost thousands less than its competitors. The Herald points out the new Ford Ranger XLT auto that is similar to the SPR costs almost $13,000 more and the 2WD Actyon Sports is $7000 less than its cheapest nearest equivalent, a Hilux.