Car manufacturers focus upon SUVs at Delhi Expo

Friday 09 December 2011, 16:37 PM by

Hyundai is looking to expand its line up in India and cater to the changing tastes of domestic buyers. In this endeavour, the company has decided to showcase a new concept model of a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) at the 2012 New Delhi Auto Expo.

According to a Hyundai spokesperson, “The details of the car will be worked out at a later stage.” Moreover, it was not clarified whether the company will keep its length lesser than 4 metres, which will make it eligible for lower taxes according to government regulations.

In the 2006 Union budget, the then Finance Minister had designated special benefits for small cars in a bid to increase car manufacturing in India and make the country a focal point for producing small cars in the global arena. Under that plan, cars whose length was less than 4 metre and was equipped with a sub-1200 cc petrol or sub-1500 cc diesel engine would get an 8 percentage point excise duty reduction, bringing it down to 16 per cent.

Car manufacturers focus upon SUVs at Delhi Expo |
Hyundai SUV

Apart from this unexpected concept car, the event may also see the showcasing of Veloster, a crossover utility vehicle, at the expo being held in January, said the spokesperson.

According to him, “Veloster has been a success for us in the United States since its launch.” He also added, “We want to see what kind of interest it generates among the Indian consumers.”

Aimed at the youth looking for a new utility vehicle, the Veloster made its debut in South Korea and then became a hit in USA. It was first exhibited by the Korean auto maker in January, at the Detroit Auto Show.

In a separate announcement, the company said buyers will have to pay more for all of its models January 2012 onwards.

According to Arvind Saxena, Director (Marketing and Sales), Hyundai Motor India, “The pressure of rising inflation, higher fuel costs and sharp rupee depreciation has compelled us to look at a price increase on our models. All these factors have now made it very difficult for us to absorb the rising costs.”

He added, “The price increase will come into effect in January 2012. We are in the process of working out the specific increase on the various models. Broadly the increase will be 1.5-2% across all models.”

Mahindra and Mahindra is also engaged in developing a compact version of Xylo, which will stand at less than 4 metres in length; the utility vehicle should hit Indian roads in early 2012.

Hyundai spoke of its concept car within a few short weeks of Maruti Suzuki talking about foraying into the steadily increasing SUV segment. Maruti Suzuki, the largest small car maker, may be ready to showcase the car within the next two years.

Earlier, Shinzo Nakanishi, Managing Director of Maruti Suzuki said that the company is working towards capturing its 50 per cent market share again, with focus on Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPVs), Multi-Utility Vehicles (MUVs) and SUVs. “This segment accounts for 18% of the total market,” commented Nakanishi. “We are zero there. The question is how to fill up this area”, he added.

Abdul Majeed, auto practice leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said, “There is also a market for such vehicles (SUVs) in the longer-run as people aspire for bigger cars. Last year, the total number of units sold in that category was at least 250,000.” He added, “So, all the companies who do not have a presence in that segment will try to develop a vehicle quickly.”

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