Hyundai’s next generation hatchback i10 has overtaken the company’s best-selling car, Santro, to become the flagship model for the Korean auto major, according to the sales figures for the past few months.
Average sales of the i10 have touched 12,000 units a month, against about 7,000 for the Santro, prompting Hyundai to consider this hatchback, launched two years back to counter Maruti Suzuki’s growing popularity, as its flagship model.
However, the Korean auto major does not say so formally. “We follow a mutli-model strategy and look at consolidated sales of Santro and i10. Sales of the Santro and i10 together contribute a sizeable chunk of the compact car segment and it adds to a larger customer base,” said Arvind Saxena, senior VP at Hyundai Motor India. For the current year, Hyundai expects Santro sales at 85,000 units and the I10 to gross 1.4 lakh units.
Company executives offer varied reasons for the growth of the i10. But contemporary styling, competitive pricing and superior technology have remained the common features for the growing popularity, say executives connected with the development.
The rise in sales is despite the i10 being priced slightly higher than the Santro. Since its launch two years back, the i10 has managed to average domestic sales of around 12,000 a month, from 6,500 units; while sales of the Santro have fallen from 12,000 units in 2000, to the current 7,000 units a month.
Although the Santro did manage to shake up the small car market, sales over the past few years have been under pressure owing to competition from Maruti-Suzuki’s Alto, Estilo, Wagon-R and Tata Indica.
With the urban consumer wanting contemporary and technologically superior cars, the Santro, in recent months, has seen a sizeable chunk of its sales going to tier ii markets. Sources also say that the company is pushing the i10 in urban markets and Santro to the semi-urban and rural market.
People close to the development also say that the Korean major may launch the Santro with a smaller size engine option at a lower price point to compete directly with Maruti-Suzuki’s Alto, currently the bestseller.