CarDekho was in talks with Hyundai’s Senior Vice President (Sales and Marketing), Mr Rakesh Srivastava after the company unveiled the new Santa Fe and XCent— the new compact sedan that will compete with the Maruti Suzuki DZire and the Honda Amaze. Hyundai is the second largest player in the Indian auto market and is also the biggest car exporter from India. We speak to Mr Srivastav and ask his strategy for the XCent and company’s plans for 2014.
Q1) Hyundai will launch the XCent sedan very soon, it is based on the Grand i10. How has the response been so far for the hatchback?
Ans) Hyundai’s Grand i10 has been a grand success for the brand. It made its global debut in India before the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Grand i10 has been designed and engineered for Indian car market with longer wheelbase, rear AC vents. This is why the results are showing up. About 51,000 units were sold in 5 months, which is a great number. It was amongst the top 5 seller cars in its second month of sale. The XCent is based on the same platform, and again its global debut happened at the Auto Expo. We are expecting some good numbers for the XCent.
Q2) When do we expect the Hyundai XCent to be available in the market?
Ans) The Hyundai XCent will be available in the next one or two months in the market, and one can expect immediate deliveries too.
Q3) Why is the compact sedan segment so important? And why did it take so long for Hyundai to enter this, if it is vital?
Ans) The compact sedan segment saw a growth of 39 percent last year and it is one of the fastest growing segments even today. Hyundai believes in the philosophy of delivering the best quality products, with the best-in class features and all of this, at an aggressive price. We want to either the segment leader or have one of the best-sellers in that segment. The Verna was a game-changer and still has 40 percent market share, the Elantra too became to the best-seller, the Grand i10 has been a success too. So, it has taken us some time, but we are offering the best product for the customer, with an aggressive pricing, which you will come to know soon, once it is launched. We expect to get a major market share this time a well with the new Hyundai XCent.
Q4) What is the current production capacity of the Hyundai plant in Chennai and how will the company increase the capacity to cater to the demand of the XCent?
Ans) Last year, we manufactured 6.33 lakh units, which is 99 percent capacity of the plant. But this year we have optimised our production capacity and targeting to produce 6.75 lakhs. This is thanks to our MD, who is a production expert and he has recalibrated the capacity for this year. This is where the XCent demand can fit in. If in case, we need more vehicles for the domestic market, then we shall reduce our exports and focus more on the sales of the current Indian market as this is the more important customers for us. Our plant is flexible in terms of production and we won’t have much of any issue to deliver to our customers. At the moment we export to 126 countries and out of every 100 that are exported from India, 46 are Hyundai, making us the largest Indian car-exporting manufacturer.
Q5) What are the numbers of rural sales outlets for Hyundai and how many more can be see this year? Also, is Hyundai doing anything else to encourage sales?
Ans) Hyundai has 270 rural outlets as of last year and this year, it will make it cross the 300 mark. These rural outlets also have 1-2 service bays to become a one-stop shop for the customers. We have launched a campaign called as Hyundai Champions, this is for the influencers and their sons and daughters, as they share their experience of using Hyundai products.
Q6) What is your take on Automated Manual Transmission? Is Hyundai considering such an option too?
Ans) Hyundai at the moment isn’t considering this technology and we will rather stick to automatic or manual transmission than something else. Hyundai isn’t considering such an option at the moment atleast.
Source : CarDekho -