Hyundai Verna will be replaced this August by the latest-generation model
Nearly two decades after it began operations, Hyundai Motor India is gearing up to launch a fresh salvo in the Indian market, which is today the third largest international market for Hyundai, after China and the US. “In 2015, India accounted for 13 percent of Hyundai’s global sales and that figure has jumped to 15 percent in the first two months of 2017,” says Y.K. Koo, managing director and CEO, Hyundai Motor India.
“India is a very important market for Hyundai and that is why we are ready to invest Rs 5,000 crore in developing and introducing eight new products to this market by 2020. Out of those eight models, three will be for a new segment like our Ioniq hybrid which we will launch at the Auto Expo 2018,” adds Koo, who is keen to stress his company’s commitment to the Indian market.
A raft of new models is being developed, some of them specifically for India, like a compact SUV (code: QXI) based on the Carlino concept showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo. Hyundai is also developing what is internally called a ‘Family Design Concept', which is essentially a practical and spacious budget hatchback specific to India. The company is further studying a micro-SUV to rival the likes of the Mahindra KUV100.
There will be a full model change for some of the existing brands to keep Hyundai’s portfolio as fresh as possible. The Verna (code: HHI) will be replaced this August by the latest-generation model whilst the next-gen i20 and Creta are due for replacement in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
The Grand i10, the i20 and the Creta are key models for Hyundai, garnering maximum sales for the company and hence an aggressive plan has been made to keep them as fresh as possible throughout their lifecycle with facelifts and other enhancements. The Creta is due for a facelift in late 2018 and will come with a mild hybrid option for both petrol and diesel engines.
In fact, Hyundai plans to aggressively push hybrid tech in India and will roll out mild hybrid options for the new Verna, possibly by the end of this year. Hyundai’s hybrid ambitions have been dealt a blow with the recent rollback of fiscal benefits to mild hybrids under the FAME India Scheme [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India] but this is unlikely to change the company’s hybridisation strategy as other fiscal incentives that give mild hybrids an advantage are likely to remain.
Koo also says that Hyundai “will manufacture AMTs (automated manual transmissions) in India”. A new in-house AMT manufacturing facility is being set up which will allow Hyundai to offer a low-cost automatic option in its entry-level cars. This will be a crucial step for Hyundai, which is keen to grab some of the exploding demand for AMTs that market leader Maruti is currently mopping up.
A bigger issue for Hyundai is a serious capacity constraint. The Sriperembudur plant is working overtime in three shifts and for 290 days of the year to satisfy not just domestic demand but export markets as well.
Last year, Hyundai produced 6.62 lakh cars and that figure is likely to go up as it enters new, mass market segments. The company is tight-lipped on its plans to increase capacity but sources say that it is waiting for sister brand Kia to set up a plant in India and share some of its capacity.
Hyundai currently accounts for 16.82 percent of the Indian market, which places it a distant second behind Maruti which continues to dominate the market. However, Hyundai’s global scale and a wide product portfolio that ranges from entry cars to luxury SUVs make this ambitious Korean automaker the market leader's most formidable rival. Hyundai to expand India model range - Autocar India