India's second largest car maker Hyundai Motors is looking to enter the highly competitive compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) segment by launching a new vehicle next year. In addition, the company would also be launching a new Multi Utility Vehicle (MUV) by 2015. With these additions, Hyundai would seal the gaps in its current Indian product portfolio.
Reportedly, the new utility vehicles that are being designed at the company centre in Namyang, Korea would be sharing the same platform. This would help in bringing down manufacturing and subsequent selling costs. In the automobile industry, it is widely known that car platforms form the biggest chunk of development costs and these also include under-body and suspension. Apart from these, costs of car chassis, engines and different powertrain options will also be minimised for Hyundai. To understand Indian customer preferences better, the company's Hyderabad-based centre will be providing inputs.
With the launch of the new Hyundai compact SUV, competition in the growing compact SUV segment will become tougher. Vehicles that are already present in this segment include Renault Duster, Mahindra Quanto and Premier Rio. Ford EcoSport would be launched this June and General Motors may also introduce its Chevrolet Trax sometime later this year.
Hyundai has not yet decided which engines will be installed in the new vehicle. Reportedly, the company has a range of options, from 1.4 litre petrol to 1.6 litre diesel. At present, the company has a premium SUV offering in the form of Santa Fe, but none in the compact SUV category.
Speaking about the company's business outlook in 2013, Bo Shin Seo, Managing Director (MD), Hyundai Motor India Limited, said, “For the time being, the market is down; long term I expect the market to be good. We are looking to improve our market share with a strong product line-up. Our compact SUV next year will help our market share.” He also mentioned that being the second largest manufacturer, the company has a 19.8 share of the Indian passenger vehicle market at present. With respect to future launches, Hyundai Motors India could also be launching a new compact car to fit into a niche segment between the i10 and i20. Seo added, “We believe in providing new values and experiences combining performance with reasonable price and elegance. We plan to launch this car in the second half of 2013.”
It would be interesting to see this new Hyundai compact taking on the Maruti Swift, as it is expected to get a new 1.1 litre diesel engine, which would be produced at the company's Chennai plant. At present, Hyundai is setting up a $ 300 million flexible engine plant at its Sriperumbudur unit. It would have the capacity to produce both petrol and diesel engines in the country.