New Delhi: The country’s second-largest car maker, Hyundai Motor India, plans to hike its production by over 18% in the current year as it targets a 10% jump in sales and expects a revival in the market in the second half of 2009.
It is planning to launch its sports utility vehicle (SUV) ‘Santa Fe´ in 2010, besides exploring possibilities to roll out a smaller car than ‘Santro´ in the Indian market. The company will also start producing diesel engines by 2010.
“In the first half of 2009, the domestic market was flat, but we are seeing positive signs of revival of the market and we are expecting it to pick up in the second half. Our target is to produce 5.8 lakh units in 2009,” Hyundai Motor India managing director and CEO Heung Soo Lheem told reporters in Delhi.
The company had produced 4.9 lakh units last year out of a total installed capacity of 6 lakh units a year, he added.
“Our exports grew by over 22% in the first half. We expect to maintain the same rate and are targeting to sell three lakh units in the overseas markets. We are also hoping that the domestic market will surely improve,” Lheem said, adding the company is aiming to close the year with an overall jump of about 10%.
Asked about launching its SUV ‘Santa Fe´ in the country, Lheem said the company is currently carrying out a feasibility study and would act accordingly.
However, a senior company official said the SUV would hit the Indian roads next year, which would be in both diesel and petrol versions, and initially be imported from Korea.
When asked about its plans to introduce a smaller car that its existing ‘Santro´, HMIL senior vice-president (marketing and sales) Arvind Saxena said: “We are still working on it...it is still far away and will take some time.”
The company today launched the diesel version of its premium compact car ‘i20´, priced between Rs6.20 lakh and Rs7.20 (ex-showroom, Delhi). It also introduced a petrol variant of the car with automatic transmission, offered at Rs7.31-7.72 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
“Currently we are importing the diesel engine from Korea. The production of the diesel plant in Chennai will start by the end of 2010,” Lheem said without giving details.
Since its launch in December last year, the company has sold over 72,000 units of ‘i20´, of which only about 12,000 units were handed over to domestic customers and the rest went to overseas markets.
After the diesel launch, the company is now targeting to sell 4,000 units of i20s every month. It plans to sell 1,800 units in the domestic market.
Asked about the company’s reported first ever loss from Indian operations in 2008, Saxena said: “Cost of sales went up by 10-15% and it is still at the same level...the situation should improve.”