Hyundai India shocked by sales drop; turns to diesel cars for rescue procedures

Thursday 04 October 2012, 12:31 PM by

Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL), the country's second largest passenger car maker, recorded its steepest drop in sales by 14 per cent in the September month, marking the current fiscal 2012-13 as a gloomy period in its impressive history in the Indian market. The Korean auto major could manage sales of just 31,000 units in the country during the September 2012.

Hyundai India shocked by sales drop; turns to diesel cars for rescue procedures | CarTrade.com
Hyundai India shocked by sales drop; turns to diesel cars for rescue procedures

Expressing his disbelief on the dip in the number of vehicle sales last September, B.V.R Subbu, ex-President, HMIL said, “Hyundai appears to be content to be No 2. It was different when we started, when the entire focus was to become No 1.” Subbu was the President of HMIL between 1997 and 2006 and further said that the Korean auto maker's lack of communication with its dealers and customers is not doing much good for the company and is actually inhibiting its growth.

Rakesh Srivastava, Head of Sales and Marketing, HMIL, is adamant that the company has nothing to fear with the September 2012 sales drop and said, “When the industry fell by 4.4 per cent in the April to August 2012 period, Hyundai grew by 1.8 per cent. We want to be a strong player with a premium positioning. We are trying to strengthen our position in every segment and we are trying to do this by refreshing existing products and introducing new ones.” Srivastava was a former head of sales at HMIL and got marketing division as well, when Arvind Saxena left the company to join the Indian arm of Volkswagen as Managing Director (MD).

According to Srivastava, HMIL is currently exploring the diesel alternatives in the Indian passenger car segment and is working profusely towards increasing its production capacity. The company seems to have been smitten with the demand for diesel vehicles among Indian car enthusiasts and will soon add several diesel run products to its portfolio, thereby targeting market dominance.

The Korean auto giant currently markets a solid portfolio in the Indian small compact car segment, which contributes to more than 50 per cent of the total vehicles. HMIL's Indian fleet consists of an entry-level model Eon and Santro Xing, i10 and premium small car i20. However, due to scarce diesel run offerings, the sales of the company hit rock bottom in September 2012.

Hyundai India's market popularity has dipped due to the prevalent trend towards purchasing diesel cars by its Indian clientele. The Korean company's sales were outpaced by its contemporaries, which had a tremendous run in the Indian market, such as Maruti Suzuki Swift, Toyota Etios Liva, Nissan Micra, Ford Figo and Chevrolet Beat among others.

HMIL is currently working towards developing a diesel variant of its i10 hatchback and may introduce the new model by the end of 2013. Reportedly, the Korean auto maker has already started assembling a dual capacity engine factory at its Sriperumbudur production unit near Chennai. The in-progress facility, will be Hyundai's third engine producing unit and will manufacture both diesel and petrol engines.

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