South Korean car maker Hyundai has lined up 10-15 launches in India in the next four to five years, in an attempt to protect and boost its market share that is under pressure due to increasing competition.
The firm, whose market share in India has fallen to 18.3 percent from 21 percent in the past 12-18 months, plans to overhaul its portfolio with stylish so-called “fluidic” designs and enter categories where it has no presence.
“The excitement in the market is derived out of only new models and the facelifts, so you have to be continuously working towards it,” said Arvind Saxena, vice-president sales and marketing, Hyundai India. The company plans to launch a cost-saving LPG variant of Eon prompted by rising petrol prices.
Also on cards from Hyundai stable are an executive sedan positioned above Verna to take on likes of Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic, in addition to variants and facelifts of i10 and i20 in the next few years. Hyundai recently launched its smallest car Eon, pitted against Maruti’s global top seller Alto.
Hyundai’s planned product onslaught comes at a time India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki has lined up 15-20 cars by 2015. Foreign car markers have also planned a parade of new cars, including 6-8 from General Motors, eight from Ford, and 10-15 from Renault-Nissan.
Backed by the strong economic growth and low penetration of cars, the passenger car market in India has witnessed a strong double digit growth over the last few years and it is expected to maintain a growth of 12-14 percent in the next five years.
However in the first six month of this fiscal, passenger vehicle sales have remained sluggish, growing at 1.84 percent as rising interest rates, firmer commodity prices and stubbornly high inflation dented demand in one of the fastest growing car markets.
“Experts said it is not surprising to see a barrage of new launches as product lifecycles get shorter and competition intensifies.” The basic genesis has to be that it has to offer value and it has to be differentiated from other products.
With Eon at the bottom end and Santa Fe at the top, Hyundai will study all segments within this range that could make sense for the Indian market, Saxena said. With widening price differential between diesel and petrol, Hyundai has not ruled out compact diesel cars in future.