The country’s largest passenger car exporter, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, expects a flat year for exports as many of its export markets are yet to recover fully from the economic downturn.
Hyundai exported over 2.85 lakh cars in 2009-10, a growth of 12.75 per cent over 2008-09, across 110 countries. The company accounted for 64 per cent of the country’s total car exports during the year. In the domestic market, Hyundai sold 3.15 lakh units registering a growth of 29 per cent during the year.
“Though our export numbers are substantial, domestic market has always been our top priority,” said Arvind Saxena, director, sales and marketing, HMIL. “We are confident of a double digit growth in domestic sales this year, but exports may be flat. We are trying to add new markets but we have already covered major geographies and there is relatively little room for growth now.”
Over 70 per cent of the company’s volumes are accounted for by small cars like Santro, i10 and i20. Hyundai, however, said the market will eventually grow for bigger cars and it will launch a range of products in 3-4 years.
“The Verna (mid size sedan) should have done better than what it has but growth in the mid-size segment got skewed with the entry-level segment doing very well while the upper end suffered,” Saxena said.
“The Accent is doing well and there is good demand for it from the taxi segment. We will have new products in those segments to expand our presence further.”
Though the company is close to reaching its terminal capacity of 6 lakh units per annum at its two plants in Chennai, Saxena said there will be no need for capcity expansion at least for the next one year.
“We can stretch our production by around 40,000 units over our installed capacity and another 40,000 unit capacity will be freed as part of our i20 export volumes will move to Turkey. We are not shying away from investments but for the time being we have sufficient capacity,” he added.
Hyundai will launch the sports utility vehicle Santa Fe later this year, while its small car below Santro is slated to hit the market by early 2012.