The country’s second-largest carmaker, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), is considering a new sedan in the domestic market to replace the Elantra, which it phased out in 2007. Since then, HMIL has had no offering in the space.
HMIL declined to share the timeline for the launch, but said the product would be priced between Rs 10-14 lakh. The car would compete with the likes of Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Altis and Chevrolet Cruze. HMIL had sold 8,637 units of Elantra between 2004 and 2007.
The company is exploring the modalities for manufacturing the sedan at its Chennai facility. “To keep our prices competitive, we have decided to manufacture the car in India. Once the details are worked out, we can give a definite time frame for the launch,” said Arvind Saxena, director and board member (marketing and sales), HMIL.
The company, which has seven products across the compact car, mid-size sedan, sport utility vehicle (SUV) and premium segments, is working on bringing a full line-up in India over the next three years.
Saxena said, “The way the Indian market is structured, we will continue to focus on the compact car segment to bring in the volumes. But over the next two to three years, we will launch several products across segments to plug in gaps and strengthen our presence in the Indian market.”
Hyundai, for instance, is developing a small car, priced below Santro, for the Indian market to establish its presence in the micro passenger car segment. Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors are the only players to have Maruti 800 and Nano, respectively, in this category.
HMIL has Santro, i10 and i20 in the compact car segment, while Accent and Verna belong to the mid-size space. Sonata draws in customers looking for products in the premium category. “We did not have a product in the SUV space, so we brought in Santa Fe to fill in the gap. The response has been good and we are already sold out this year,” Saxena said. Santa Fe had 535 bookings within two weeks of its launch.
HMIL had planned to take in only limited number of bookings, as Santa Fe is brought into India as a completely built-up unit from the parent company, Hyundai Motor Corporation, in South Korea.
HMIL sold 52,225 units in October, a rise of 0.9 per cent. In October 2009, the company had sold 51,735 units. While domestic sales grew 22.7 per cent, exports fell over 25 per cent to 17,500 units last month. The company registers nearly 90 per cent of its sales from the compact car segment.