Home / Auto / Hyundai thinks small, may drive in micro SUV

New Delhi: Hyundai Motor India Ltd, the second largest carmaker in India, may introduce a micro sports utility vehicle (SUV) to consolidate its position and increase market share, a top company official has said. Hyundai, which makes three SUVs—Creta, SantaFe and Tucson—is planning to add more products, specifically under the sub four-metre category. “We have a small SUV Creta; may be later, we may have a micro SUV also. We will have a very strong SUV line-up," Y.K. Koo, managing director, Hyundai Motor India said in an interview at its Chennai factory where it started manufacturing 20 years ago.

Hyundai will first launch a compact SUV placed just below Creta, and the micro SUV will be introduced later. Creta, launched in 2015, now sells 8,000-10,000 units a month. Both Creta and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s Vitara Brezza have together displaced Mahindra and Mahindra as India’s leading utility vehicle manufacturer.

“We will increase our product portfolio in the SUV segment and with Creta, we have tasted success as in the segment as well, as we continue to sell almost 10,000 units every month, which is great given the price point at which the vehicle is available," added Koo.

Hyundai, according to Koo will focus on the compact segment with the launch of a small hatchback—to be introduced before Diwali—while another product, probably a compact SUV, will be launched in the next financial year.

Koo said the company will target a leadership position in the compact segment with the upcoming products. Hyundai has not launched any new offering in the compact segment for almost five years now.

The South Korean manufacturer currently has a capacity utilization of 99%, and plans to look at a new capacity after 2020 by when the safety norms and emission norms will be introduced. It is now trying to realign its export strategy to meet demand in the domestic market and make space for the new products.

Also read: After 20 years in India, Hyundai repositions as a premium car brand

Exports from India in the form of completely-built units has come down significantly, and will continue to decline since most countries are trying to promote vehicle imports in the form of completely or semi knocked down units. That will free up a lot of space for the Korean manufacturer.

“SUV is the fastest growing body-type in India. We feel in next five years UV will cross sedan sales in India. This is as most of OEMs are introducing multiple SUV products. Also SUV is getting more favourite as Indian Consumers are getting more aspirational and adventurous . They Need a product with higher ground clearance and big space. SUV is the way going forward for every OEM," said Puneet Gupta, associate director, vehicle sales forecasting, IHS Markit, a global information provider.

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