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Hyundai to launch 2 models a year

Chalking out an aggressive strategy for the Indian market, Hyundai said it will launch two models every year.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2006 12:00 IST

Chalking out an aggressive strategy for the Indian market, South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor on Friday said it will launch two models every year that would include diesel cars, including a 1.2-litre engine hatchback.

"Every year, we will launch two models, that may include variant," Hyundai Motor India Heung Soo Lheem told reporters.

Lheem said the company would launch a diesel version of its premium sedan 'Sonata Embera' by the fourth quarter of this calendar year.

Asked on the launch of the mid-size 'Verna', he said it was on the cards. "We plan to launch the car within this year itself and are working one it," he said, adding that it will come in both petrol and diesel variants.

Lheem, however, emphasised that current mid-size offering 'Accent' will not be phased out after the launch of the Verna. "It will be continued and we have no plans to phase it out," he said.

Lheem said that the Accent had a good demand in export markets like Algeria and Morocco. "Around ten per cent of Accent sales last year were through overseas markets," he said.

The company, which has made India the hub for small car 'Santro', faces a capacity constraint, he said. "We have a export backorder of 21,000 units and are working to meet that," he said.

Hyundai currently has an annual capacity of 2,50,000 units, which it is scaling up to 3,00,000 units by going in for a third shift at its Chennai plant. Also, it is setting up a 3,00,000-unit second facility which is likely to be operational by October next year.

Lheem said Hyundai expected sales to be around 3,00,000 units this year against 2,50,000 last year. "Around 2,00,000 units will be sold in the domestic market while the rest will be through exports," he said.

Asked on the launch of the 1.2-litre diesel compact car, he said Hyundai had an engine of that size and that could be sourced and manufactured in India as well. However, he refused to give any time-frame for this.

Whether this engine would come on the Santro, he said it was not possible going by the model's size. "It is not possible on the Santro," he said, hinting that the 'Getz' would sport the engine.

On the appointment of a President for the Indian operations, after the exit of B VR Subbu, he said the company was looking for a suitable replacement.

"Hyundai India is an Indian company and we need an Indian face to deal with our dealers, employees and the Government. It is in the process," he said.

Asked whether the arrest of the company global Chairman Chung Mong-koo, on charges of breach of trust and embezzlement, would affect Indian operations, he replied in the negative. "All investments for India have been approved and we have the suppport of the current management," he said.

First Published: Jun 16, 2006 17:13 IST