Hyundai sold its 400,000th car this year in India on Tuesday — the highest ever for the company in a year. It expects to sell about 411,000 cars by the end of December, said Rakesh Srivastava, vice-president and head (marketing and sales), on Wednesday. So far, only Maruti Suzuki has achieved that sales milestone in the country. For Hyundai, that would be an eight per cent rise in volume over last year.
Next year, the South Korean car maker aims to increase its annual India sales by a tenth, helped largely by the launch of new sports utility vehicles (SUVs).
The vehicle maker has finalised a two-year plan to enter two of the country’s most promising segments with locally developed products. It will roll out two compact SUVs by the second half of next year and a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) in 2016. The three products will have at least 90 per cent local content.
One of the SUVs will be positioned as a city rider and aim to take on Renault’s Duster, Ford’s EcoSport and Mahindra’s Scorpio. The second, likely to be positioned as an off-roader, is expected to create a new niche. The two SUVs are likely to have an entry price of Rs 9-10 lakh, said sector sources.
The MPV will be pitted against Toyota’s Innova, the leader in the segment.
Hyundai Vice-President Srivastava said: “We will launch a compact SUV next year. We will also bring an MPV, but that will not be before 2016.” He did not give any details on prices.
Hyundai already has a premium SUV, the Santa Fe, launched less than 12 months ago. But it has been able to sell only about under 200 Santa Fes a month. In China, the company has already unveiled a compact SUV, the Ix 25, at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show. A production-ready version of the vehicle was showcased at the Guangzhou Auto Show.
The company could draw from this model, said Srivastava, but the Indian offering will be designed to cater to local needs.
Hyundai, though, does not intend to increase capacity or set up new plants, especially in a market that has been in the doldrums for the past three years. Instead, Srivastava said, the company’s strategy has been to shift export orders from India to other markets in Europe, to create additional capacity without extra investment.
In 2014, Hyundai exported 190,000 cars, compared with 240,000 the previous year. According to Srivastava, that released for the local market a capacity of 50,000 cars, some of which was used to produce for the Indian market this year. “We can also scale up our production capacity from 680,000 vehicles a year to 700,000. So we have enough capacity to meet the needs for 2015, even as we will be utilising over 98 per cent of the capacity,” said Srivastava.