Hyundai will launch a diesel variant of its next-generation car i10 to counter Ford’s ‘Figo’. For the first time, Hyundai has conceded that Figo and not Nissan’s ‘Micra’ will keep the company on its toes, a candid Hyundai Motor India (HMI) MD H W Park admitted.
He said that Hyundai was not duly concerned about Micra. However, it is directing efforts to counter competition challenges from the Ford Figo and Maruti’s re-launched WagonR. He strongly hinted that Hyundai may launch the diesel variant of i10.
Currently, the petrol version of the i10 is exported out of its Indian plant in Chennai, which has an annual capacity to produce 6 lakh cars. The models available to the sub-continent market are Atos, i10, i20, Getz (click), Verna (Accent) and Sonata (NF).
Santa Fe, its mid-size crossover SUV, will be launched during Q4 of this year. Sonata YF (Sedan), refurbished i20 and i10 models will hit the Indian market soon. Hyundai has been selling 8,000 units of the Santro every month. “Demand for Santro still exists,” he reiterated, adding there were no plans to phase it out. The expansion of the existing line of Hyundai is scheduled to be during early part of 2011-2012.
It also plans to introduce a new car that will be positioned below the Santro. “Development of the sub-Santro model is at evaluation stage at Namyang (its R and D centre). We are on schedule as far as the development stage work is concerned. Look-wise, it will not be small though it will have a similar cutting-edge design,” he said, dwelling on the Indian consumer psyche to possess spacious compact cars.
HMI exports to 120 countries and its market share has risen to 20.7% from 20.6% earlier. Last year, it sold 2,89,863 units. By the year-end, it plans to expand dealer network to 320 from the current 290. Asked about Hyundai's performance this year, Mr Park said it will either be on par or exceed the industry growth of 10-12%.