Ssangyong will “gradually get the hang of how to do fleet” as the brand progresses, according to marketing director, Steve Gray speaking to BusinessCar at the launch of the diesel Tivoli – the firm’s first car with genuine fleet appeal.

The compact crossover may not be able to match the Peugeot 2008 and Nissan Juke’s emissions, but figures of 113g/km and 65.7mpg for the new diesel model plus low P11D values mean tax bills are practically identical.

Despite the Tivoli’s company car credentials, the Korean manufacturer has conservative ambitions, expecting “very few” fleet sales initially. Gray continued: “I can see next year our percentage being 5-10% for the Tivoli. and then it will increase.”

Ssangyong UK CEO Paul Williams, however, is more bullish: “I think what you’ll find now is that people might start to ask fleet operators, ‘Is the Tivoli going to be on the list?’ which they would never have done before.”

Central to this, is the car’s low entry price and reasonable BIK rates, five-year warranty and relatively low servicing costs – and as a result, many users may be swayed by whole-life costs, Williams added. This is a departure from the company’s larger models, where only the Turismo MPV has made any impact on the business market, appearing in several daily rental fleets.

The Tivoli should signal a step change in Ssangyong’s fleet fortunes, as part of the company’s growth plans that have seen it go from 1800 sales in 2014 to a target of 4000 sales in 2015 including 1500-1800 Tivolis. Next year, Ssangyong hopes to pass the 6000 mark, including 3500 Tivolis.

*Williams is confident in the company’s new model, too: “If we can sell more, great. I would think we’ll struggle to sell less given the size of the sector and how well the car has been generally received.”

With Ssangyong seeing a significant increase in retail sales, though, fleet sales aren’t the main priority. “What I’ve said to our dealer network is that I’d like to regard any fleet business we do as ‘additional to’, to try and drive the [retail] volume up.”

What should really help the company boost sales – both retail and fleet – is the raft of models coming by 2020, with the Tivoli set to become Ssangyong’s oldest model by 2018.

Despite these bold plans, the firm isn’t looking to stray too far from its niche roots. “Rest assured, you won’t suddenly see us come out with a Ford Mondeo or a VW Golf competitor,” Williams added.