Hyundai shakes up the market with Creta

Hyundai today launched its sports utility vehicle (SUV), Creta, at a price of Rs 8.59 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the petrol version and Rs 9.46 lakh for the diesel version to take on rivals like Mahindra Scorpio, Renault Duster and Nissan Terrano.

The India launch is a part of its global launch. The SUV will be available in seven colours for all the ten variants. The middle and top end petrol version of Creta are available at Rs 9.57 lakh and Rs 11.19 lakh, respectively. All versions of petrol are powered by a 1.6 litre petrol engine. However, in diesel there are two engine options: 1.4 litre and 1.6 litre.

The 1.4 litre engine powered versions begin at Rs 9.46 lakh, followed by Rs 10.42 lakh and the top end version at Rs 11.45 lakh. The 1.6 litre engine vehicle begins at Rs 11.59 lakh, followed by Rs 12.67 lakh and Rs 13.60 lakh. There is also an automatic transmission option in 1.6 litre engine for Rs 13.57 lakh. The company has spent Rs 1,000 crore to develop Creta, designed in Hyundai's home country Korea, which will expand the company's SUV range. Before Creta, Hyundai had a premium SUV offering Santa Fe and the sport-styled i20 Active.

Creta comes with a three year unlimited kilometers warranty and has features like fully automatic temperature control, rear AC vents, push start button, steering mounted audio/bluetooth control, 7 inch audio video navigation and so on.

The launch comes at a time when the Indian SUV market is showing a decline due to pressure from rural areas which is a large market for such vehicles. Creta, which had 15,000 bookings before the launch, is expected to bring some excitement to this segment. "We are confident that Creta will strengthen Hyundai's position in India. It will define SUV segment in the country," Hyundai Motor India managing director and CEO, B S Seo said. Hyundai's biggest competitor and largest industry player, Maruti Suzuki will also launch the S Cross, a crossover that will compete with Creta, next month. The S Cross only comes with a diesel engine option.

With the kind of bookings already seen for Creta, there could well be a growing waiting period soon. The company has a capacity to manufacture 5,500 Cretas a month and can ramp it up to 7,000 units. Creta is expected to help Hyundai report a healthy domestic volume growth in the current financial year. In the April-June period this year, it posted a growth of 7 per cent against a 10.63 per cent growth last year. Hyundai, the country's largest exporter of passenger vehicles will also look at exporting Creta. The company has consciously scaled down export to meet the Indian demand.