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Hyundai looks at product rationalisation

South Korean automobile maker Hyundai will tweak some of its small cars and launch models to enter new vehicle segments.

India's second largest car maker may change the Eon and the i10 to make up for the phasing out of the Santro last December. The Santro hatchback, introduced in 1998, nestled between the Eon and the i10.

Satinder Singh Bajwa, senior general manager and group head for sales at Hyundai, said, "We will not introduce a new model in place of the Santro. Instead we could add or cut some features of the Eon and the i10."

With the launch of the Grand i10, sales of the i10 fell by 50 per cent this year. The company is pitching the i10 as a replacement for the Santro.

The company’s i20 Elite, a premium hatchback that costs as much as a mid-sized sedan, has been selling 6,000-8,000 cars a month and has a four-month wait list.

To sell half a million cars in India and export another 200,000 by the end of 2017, Hyundai plans a series of launches in automobile segments where it is absent. A sports utility vehicle and a compact crossover are scheduled for launch this year, followed next year by a family vehicle to compete with Maruti Suzuki’s Ertiga and Honda’s Mobilio.

Hyundai has increased the capacity of its Chennai plant to 670,000 cars a year, and this can be raised further to 700,000. This capacity, company executives said, was  good enough for a year or two.

Hyundai is also considering setting up a new plant in Tamil Nadu or some other state.