South Korean auto major Hyundai will drive in its first electric vehicle ‘Kona’ SUV into India in July, followed by a brand new ‘Grand i10’ before the festive season as it looks to increase its share in the auto market here, a top company official said.
Besides, the automaker, which is present in India through its wholly-owned subsidiary Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), is planning to start exporting its latest compact SUV ‘Venue’ from its Chennai factory in the next 3-4 months.
“We are constantly adding new products in our poprtfolio for the Indian market. We will launch our electric SUV ‘Kona’ in India in July,” HMIL Senior General Manager and Group Head (Marketing) Puneet Anand told PTI here.
He, however, declined to share specification details of the proposed sports utility vehicle planned for India.
Earlier, Hyundai had announced plans to launch its first electric vehicle in a completely knock-down (CKD) form, which would be assembled at HMIL’s manufacturing plant in Chennai.
“After the electric vehicle, we will introduce a full model change variant of an existing small car. It is going to be the ‘Grand i10’ and it will hit the roads before the festival season this year,” Anand said.
When asked about its latest compact SUV ‘Venue’, the senior official said the company has already received over 20,000 bookings and the waiting period of the vehicle is around 3-4 months at present depending upon different options.
“We are currently producing around 7,000 units of the ‘Venue’ per month at our Chennai plant. We have the capability to ramp up production and we plan to increase the output to monthly 10,000 units within next 3-4 months,” Anand explained.
On exports of the model, he said the company’s first aim is to fulfill the requirement of the domestic market and does not have immediate plans to sell overseas countries.
“After we stabilise the sales in India, we will start exporting the ‘Venue’ to our existing strong overseas markets. I do not think the export will begin before next 3-4 months,” Anand said.
On May 21, HMIL forayed into the high selling compact SUV segment in India with the launch of new model ‘Venue’ with three engine options -- 1.0 litre turbo and 1.2 litre petrol powertrains besides 1.4 litre diesel engine—and placed below the ‘Creta’ in terms of price and positioning.
Talking about the slowdown in auto market, Anand said the slump in sales began from Kerala flood last year and is continuing till now.
“We hope that with the launch of various new products by our company and other automakers, the market will revive. Also, a stable government coming to power at the Centre will help in this regard and the industry is likely to bounce back in the next 4-5 months,” he added.
Domestic passenger vehicle (PV) sales dropped by 17.07 per cent in April, the steepest fall since October 2011, as weak customer sentiment led by liquidity crunch, uncertainty revolving elections and high product prices hit sales.
The sales declined for the sixth straight month in April to 2,47,541 units as against 2,98,504 units in the year-ago month. It is the worst dip in PV sales since October 2011, when sales had dropped by 19.87 per cent.
All major segments, including two-wheelers and commercial vehicles, witnessed a decline in sales in April.