Hyundai Motor Company, the Korean auto major, is building a sub-four meter SUV that will compete with Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, as more drivers in India are buying vehicles that have high-seating positions, offering impregnable road presence.
Brezza sells more than 8,000 units in a month. Hyundai’s slightly bigger and more expensive Creta sells almost equal numbers, but the company thinks that there is enough room to launch another SUV in between the Rs 4-9 lakh price band. Apart from the Brezza, Hyundai will face competition from Mahindra and Ford in that segment.
Creta’s most selling models are available at Rs 15 lakh for a car. SUV’s make for 22.7% of all passenger vehicle sales.
“The compact cars have grown at 15%, while SUVs grew at 37% in the first 10 months… SUVs, we think, will continue to grow at 25-30% till 2020,” Y.K. Koo, managing director of Hyundai Motor India, told HT before he launched the premium SUV, Tucson on Monday.
QXi, the project name of the sub-four meter SUV, will hit the road early 2019, and will be powered by a one-litre turbo engine.
The year Hyundai will launch the QXi, Koo expects that SUVs will contribute about 25% of Hyundai’s overall volumes. The company is targeting sales of 700,000 units from India by 2020.
Koo also said that, while electric vehicles will eventually make into Hyundai’s portfolio in India, the immediate plan is to have a host of hybrid vehicles in the mid-to-high end vehicles, including the SUVs. “Electric vehicles have the constraints of infrastructure in the country… We will introduce mild-hybrid technology in Verna and the SUVs,” he said.
Maruti also has mild hybrids – the Ertiga multi-utility vehicle and the Ciaz sedan – which apart from having better ecological impact, also offers better mileage of about 18% higher for both the Maruti models.
The cars will be manufactured in Hyundai’s plant in Sriperumbudur, in Tamil Nadu. “We will bring in our own technology, and will not do any outsourcing… Its our direct investment,” Koo said.
Globally, the carmaker is shifting towards ‘green’ cars, as consumers are expected to steer towards alternative fuel vehicles. World over, sales of eco-cars are expected to touch five million in the next few years as consumers opt for including hybrid, electric and then to fuel cell cars.
Hyundai will also showcase the 1.6-litre Ioniq, the company’s first-ever specifically developed with electric powertrains car. The car, Koo said, will compete with Toyota Prius.