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After losing the numero uno position to Maruti Suzuki’s premium hatchback Baleno, Hyundai is charting out ways to reclaim the spot for the i20.

The Baleno, which has been clocking robust bookings since its October launch, has given the i20 a tough fight. The newest Maruti dislodged the Hyundai flagship from the leadership position in December sales. The Baleno saw sales of 10,572 units in December, higher than the i20 that clocked 10,379 units, according to data shared by the Delhi-based companies.  Maruti priced the Baleno lower at Rs 534,999, compared with the Elite i20, which is priced at Rs 560,348 (both prices ex-showroom, Mumbai, for the base petrol variant).

However, Hyundai says it would be misleading to judge the performance of one model on the basis of a single month, as the i20 has been in the market for one and a half years.  Puneet Anand, general manager (marketing), Hyundai Motor India, said, “The Elite i20 was launched in August 2014 and has already clocked more than 155,000 sales, which is an average of 9,200 per month, in 17 months. We have a 58 per cent market share in the i20 segment. December is one month of aberration.”

To reclaim the lost spot, Hyundai is working on increasing production of the i20 to cater to the demand from the domestic market. The company had routed i20 production to the export market, following increased demand. In addition, Hyundai is working on product upgradations on the i20 to keep the consumer excited.  “In the past three months, we were a little constrained in production which is also when the plant in Chennai had to be shut for three to four days because of floods. We had to sacrifice some Indian numbers of the i20 to cater to the export market. Orders are very strong for the i20. There will be product upgradation going on. We are confident of selling more than 10,000 units of the i20 and i20 Active,” Anand said. The i20 Active is a more expensive, souped-up version of the i20 launched in March last year. The company claims to have sold 20,000 units of the model so far. “At present, there are no discounts on the i20. In fact, the Asta diesel variant is carrying a waiting period of 30 days or so, even as the petrol variant is gaining ground. We are confident of reclaiming the number one spot in the segment,” added Anand.

But dislodging the Baleno, which has costed Maruti Rs 1,060 crore to build, will be tougher for Hyundai. Maruti Suzuki, has claimed that the Baleno has generated collective bookings of 70,000 units within three months of its launch with a waiting period of six months.