In the season of phase-outs, the latest to get the shove is Hyundai's once aspirational small car Getz. The Korean auto major has decided to phase out the five-year-old model in favour of its latest avatar i20 and will be halting its production in the Chennai plant shortly.
Earlier this week, market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd phased out the Zen brand from its fleet of products. “We will phase out Getz gradually as i20 is witnessing greater demand," said H S Lheem, Managing Director and CEO, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. "The production of the model will be stopped shortly at our Chennai plant."
Getz was launched in September 2004 as the industry’s first premium compact car. It was also Hyundai's second small car to hit the roads in India after the hugely successful Santro. But its Rs. 4.5 lakh price tag, clashing with Maruti’s retro-faced Swift, came in the way of its promise of high volumes.
At its peak Getz sold over 5,000 units per month in 2006, but sales have steadily dropped since then to mere hundreds in the last one year. Swift is still selling almost 10,000 units per month and is the nation’s fourth largest selling car. The i20 on the other hand is gaining popularity.
“Getz is selling around 500 to 1,000 per month while the demand for i20 is very strong and we are now planning to sell 40,000 units of the car this year against the earlier target of 12,000 units,” Lheem said. “We need to focus on i20 more as the demand in overseas markets is also very strong and we only manufacture the car in India.”
This would be Hyundai's third major product phase-out after SUV Terracan and executive sedan Elentra in its decade-long presence in India. But Hyundai has no plans to phase out its time-tested Santro, despite the strong demand for its predecessor i10 in the domestic market. In fact, a refreshed Santro is due next month.