M&M to boost development, brand spend at Ssangyong
* Focus on synergies, strengthening product pipeline
* Mahindra bought stake in Ssangyong last year for $464 mln
* Plans joint technology, product development
MUMBAI, March 15 (Reuters) - India's Mahindra & Mahindra (MAHM.BO) on Tuesday said it will boost product development and brand spends at Ssangyong Motor Co (003620.KS) and will set up a joint panel to ensure synergies with the South Korean sport utility vehicle maker.
Mahindra, India's largest utility vehicles maker, said it has completed all formalities related to acquisition of majority stake in Ssangyong, which is now out of court receivership.
Mahindra last year agreed to buy money-losing Ssangyong for $464 million, giving it access to advanced technologies and a foothold in the southeast Asian market. [ID:nTOE6AM02E]
The purchase would help the Indian automaker gain international traction as the Korean maker of Rexton and Kyron SUVs and the Chairman luxury sedan also exports to China, Russia, Europe and the Middle East.
Mahindra on Tuesday formed a new board of directors for Ssangyong and named Dilip Sundaram as the new chief financial officer.
Mahindra said its plans for Ssangyong include strengthening the product pipeline, investing in the brand, focusing on financial stability and ensuring synergies between the two companies.
Ssangyong will boost investments in product development by 70 percent from last year, and plans to spend more than 200 billion won ($177.9 million) in 2011, Mahindra said in a statement. It will also increase spend on local and overseas brand building.
Mahindra said the two companies are also discussing opportunities for joint technology and product development and synergy in global purchases, and plans to launch the Rexton and Korando-C models in India have been kicked off.
(Reporting by Prashant Mehra; editing by Malini Menon)
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