Korean auto major Hyundai Motor India on Tuesday launched the Creta, its maiden compact utility vehicle, at Rs 8.59 lakh -11.19 lakh for petrol, and Rs 9.47 lakh-13.60 lakh for diesel variants. The automatic version available with diesel powertrain is priced at Rs 13.58 lakh.
Based on ix25 that was launched in China last year, the car is powered by a 1.6 litre petrol, and 1.4 litre and 1.6 litre diesel engines. Despite China being a market that prefers large cars, ix25 has been a success there enjoying a waiting period stretching up to 6 months on some models. The Creta brand name would, however, be used everywhere else and for a start it would be exported out of India.
The company has invested Rs 1,000 crore towards development of the model and believes it will help spur a turnaround in the SUV market that has declined by over 6% in the first half of this year.
"I hope we will be able to gain more than 1% market share with the Creta. I am never satisfied with whatever we achieve and want to gain more," said B S Seo, managing director and CEO, Hyundai Motor India. "We have enough capacity at our factories right now for the Creta but we are looking at a third factory very closely. Yet, there is no firm decision on it."
Creta will lock horns directly with Renault's best-selling model Duster and partially with the smaller Ford EcoSport. Next month it will get a new competitor in Maruti S Cross that would be the Japanese market leader's first offering in the sub Rs 10 lakh sports utility vehicle space.
"We started working on the project almost three years ago and we had the option of developing a sub-4 metre vehicle as well but our surveys showed that consumers wanted a full size 5 seater SUV with no compromise on space," said Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice president, marketing and sales, HMIL.
The petrol and smaller diesel engine come with a 6 speed manual transmission while the top-end diesel engine will also get a 6 speed automatic transmission. Unlike in China though, there is no all wheel drive version.
Like most cars in India, the base variant is shorn of many features. It does not get airbags, electronic stability programme, vehicle stability management, parking sensors or even fog lamps. China's ix25 gets standard airbags as also a bigger 2 litre petrol engine.
As a first, Hyundai is providing a 3-year unlimited kilometer warranty on the car. The company claims it has already received over 15,000 bookings for the car in just 20 days. Around 40% of these are for the top-end diesel automatic transmission version.
The company's last three major launches in the domestic market--Grand i10, Xcent and Elite i20-- have all had varying degrees of success. Creta is expected to break new ground for the company.