New Delhi: Ahead of Kia Motors’ India entry, its sister company and the country’s second-largest car maker Hyundai Motor India Ltd said both companies will have separate strategies and aggressively compete with each other.
“Kia and Hyundai will be different. Management, operations and network... Everything will be different. Vendors can be shared for cost reduction, but strategy will be different," Y.K. Koo, managing director of Hyundai India, said in a press briefing.
“We will be aggressive against Kia. They are competition," he added.
Koo said it will not be easy for Kia to make inroads in India since the market has changed dramatically.
“Since 1997-98, the auto industry has changed a lot; the competition is very different. Now, the competition is very tough. Almost 19 players... To set up a factory is okay since people have money, but to survive and continue the success is a different issue," he explained.
Reuters on 7 February first reported that Kia is likely to choose a site for its plant in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur district. The Economic Times newspaper on 17 April said Kia’s investments in Andhra Pradesh could be as much as Rs10,000 crore. Mint could not verify these independently.
Hyundai isn’t worried.
“Already 19 players are here. If that becomes 20 or 21, it does not make a lot of difference," said Koo, who was part of the original team that set up Hyundai’s operations in India.
“Kia is not the same as Hyundai. Their DNA is different. They have different sales and marketing strategies. Product line-up could also be different," he added.
Hyundai has had a phenomenal ride in the Indian market.
The Indian business is the third largest contributor to the South Korean firm’s revenue after its home market and China; in 2013, it accounted for 14.5% of global sales.
Since inception, Hyundai has invested $3 billion in India. It has two car assembly facilities, an engine manufacturing unit (all in Chennai) and a research and development centre (in Hyderabad).
Hyundai India is planning to invest Rs5,000 crore as it looks to double its sales in India to 1 million units by 2021. The company also plans to introduce eight models by 2020, including three models in the compact, small sport utility vehicle (SUV) and hybrid segments.
The company plans to sell 682,000 units in 2017-18 and aims to maintain its market share, which stood at 17% during the fiscal year ended 31 March.
On Thursday, Hyundai introduced a new version of its compact sedan Xcent, priced between Rs5.38 lakh and Rs8.41 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The six petrol variants are priced between Rs5.38 lakh and Rs7.51 lakh, while the five diesel trims are tagged between Rs6.28 lakh and Rs8.41 lakh.
The company will keep selling the older versions of Xcent and old Grand i10 under the Prime brand to the fleet segment, Koo said.