Hyundai is likely to unveil a small car that will compete with Maruti Suzuki’s Alto, the biggest selling car model in India, at the next Auto Expo to be held in New Delhi in 2012. The Alto has average sales of over 20,000 units per month, and is priced between Rs 2.28 lakh and Rs 2.8 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
A senior official of Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) said that development of the small car is currently underway at its parent company’s R&D centre in Korea. He added, “Considering the fact that the car has been designed and developed keeping in mind the Indian market, the next Auto Expo in 2012 will be the ideal platform to unveil the car.”
The car will be positioned below the company’s existing flagship model, Santro, and will operate in the segment that the Alto from Maruti Suzuki is in. Earlier, HMIL had indicated that its small car could be priced at around Rs 1.60 Lakh, which would have meant that it would compete with the likes of Maruti Suzuki’s M800 (at a Delhi ex-showroom price of Rs 2.05 Lakh to Rs 2.14 Lakh) and even the Tata Nano (with a Delhi ex -showroom price of Rs 1.23 Lakh to Rs 1.72 Lakh).
However, rising input costs have put car makers under pressure. Even Tata Motors is believed to be planning a price hike of up to Rs 15,000 on the Nano once the first one lakh units are delivered to customers who booked the car when it was launched in 2009.
“There is minimal contribution in terms of engineering from India, but there has been a lot of input like component development, market research and customer feedback from here,” the HMIL official said. Earlier, the company had set a timeline of 2011-12 for the launch of the small car, to be powered by an 800 cc engine.
HMIL Managing Director and CEO H W Park, however, declined to comment of the timeline for the launch of the small car. “We are on course. The development is on but can’t say when it will be launched,” Park said.