The 2020 Hyundai i20 was recently launched at Rs 6.80-11.18 lakh (ex-showroom, India). In addition to a sharper design, the new-gen premium hatchback packs in loads of equipment and gets an extensive variant line-up in an effort to build on the success of the previous model.
With multiple trim levels and powertrain options, new i20 is available in 24 versions
Flexible manufacturing has allowed Hyundai to offer an extensive line-up
Automaker to rapidly adapt variant production as per demand
Following Hyundai's latest strategy, the new i20 is available in as many as 24 versions, including multiple engine-gearbox combinations and dual-tone colour schemes. With a plethora of options on offer, the company aims to appeal to a wider set of audience by providing solutions for all types of premium-hatchback buyers.
So, let's take a closer look at the automaker's strategy, and its plans to meet the manufacturing challenge presented by the extensive portfolio.
2020 Hyundai i20 variant line-up
Hyundai’s new i20 is available in four trim levels – Magna, Sportz, Asta and Asta(O). Additionally, it gets three engine and four gearbox options. On the more budget side of the scale is the 83hp, 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol mill that comes mated to a manual or a CVT automatic transmission.
Moreover, Hyundai claims to have extended its 1.0-litre turbo-petrol offering to the latest i20 for providing a punchier performance and catering to the growing segment of a younger demographic. The 120hp motor can be had with a clutch-less manual transmission (or iMT in Hyundai parlance) or a sportier DCT automatic setup.
Despite many of its rivals vacating the diesel space altogether, the Korean automaker has chosen to double down on the segment. In an interview with Autocar India, Ganesh Mani, Director, Production, Hyundai Motor India, mentioned that diesels still account for more than 30 percent of the company’s overall sales. Commenting on the powertrain choices for the new i20, he added, “We don’t want to decide what the customers should go for, so we have given the option of diesel.”
As such, the new avatar of the sub-four metre hatch gets a 100hp, 1.5-litre oil burner mated to manual transmission as standard. The powertrain should appeal to those looking for a torquier output and more frugal running.
Putting things in perspective, i20’s competitors like the Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Honda Jazz ditched their diesel offerings, earlier this year and are now only available with 1.2-litre petrol powertrains. The Tata Altroz is the only other premium hatchback contender to offer the choice between petrol and diesel engines, with an additional turbo-petrol mill expected to join the line-up later this month.
Hyundai leveraging flexible manufacturing for diverse portfolio
While most manufacturers seem to be rationalising their portfolios in the BS6 era, Hyundai is aggressively expanding its range of powertrain options throughout its entire line-up. The company’s production head revealed that the use of special purpose machines has allowed it to produce “any number of possible combinations of both petrol and diesel engines” on the same machining line, giving it the ability to easily manage a wide-ranging portfolio.
Mani further mentioned that Hyundai has implemented ‘Industry 4.0’ manufacturing techniques, which generally include automation, machine learning and the internet of things (IoT), at its 7,50,000 units annual capacity plant in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, to achieve the flexibility required for producing a variety of powertrains. He said, “We can manufacture anything which comes across because of the way the machining line has been defined.” “There is no differentiation at all; with the press of a button, we can make a diesel engine, or a petrol,” he added.
The production boss also highlighted using the lockdown period for prepping up the factory for the new i20, which would have required a major stoppage of the production line in any case. “Even adversity presents a huge opportunity. During the one-and-a-half months of halt in production, we were able to utilise the period to make our lines fully compatible with Industry 4.0,” he said.
Hyundai to swiftly adjust new i20 production as per customer preferences
Modern manufacturing principles have enabled Hyundai to maintain agility in other areas of production as well. For instance, the Korean auto major rapidly adapted its body shop and assembly line operations earlier this year in a “short span of time of less than 10 days” to meet the unexpectedly high demand for higher variants of the Creta. The company is similarly poised to modulate the production of the new i20, according to customer preferences. Moreover, Mani commented that such manoeuvrability is not only limited to the automaker, but has also been extended to its vendors.
The agility across the entire value chain should bode well for prospective i20 buyers who have been able to place orders for the new model since late-last month. With interest in the outgoing i20 remaining high right till the fag end of its lifecycle, the next-gen hatchback certainly seems to be off to a strong start.
2020 Hyundai i20 image gallery
2020 Hyundai i20 first look video
2020 Hyundai i20 first look: New premium hatchback in detail