Korean carmaker Hyundai is gearing up to launch the third-generation Tuscon in India this September and is confident that the SUV will appeal to the buyers, thanks to an improved level of refinement and a better luxury quotient.
“In marketing terms, there are two things – being ahead of the curve and being ahead of the times. The former gives you an advantage over the others, while the latter is challenging for the product. I think that the first Tucson was ahead of its time, but when the Tucson launches now, it’ll be ahead of the curve, which will be the biggest advantage and therefore we are confident of the it,” Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice-president (sales and marketing), Hyundai Motor India, told Autocar India.
First launched in India in 2005, the Tucson, then in its first generation, disappeared without a trace after finding only 1,810 buyers and therefore the company then put off the launch of its successor. The newest generation of the SUV, which was showcased at the Auto Expo 2016, features an attractive modern design similar to Hyundai’s big SUV – the Santa Fe. The cabin comes loaded with luxurious materials and new-age features.
Apart from a better product, the escalating demand for SUVs is also likely to work in Hyundai’s favour. Sales of utility vehicles rose 35.87 percent during May 2016 to 58,793 units and stood at a cumulative 120,963 units during the first two months of this fiscal, representing a growth of almost 40 percent.
Thanks to the stellar performance of UVs in 2016-17 up until now, the market share for the segment in overall passenger vehicle (PV) sales also rose to 25.53 percent from 19.90 percent in the same period a year ago.
Talking about the shift in consumer preference to SUVs and a stirring demand for the Creta, Srivastava says, “The SUV segment is growing at 26 percent as against the growth in passenger vehicles segment of 4 percent. That’s because earlier, when only basic features were offered in SUVs, today, all the luxuries are available. And that’s bringing a shift from the sedan segment into the SUV segment. It’s a disruptor, which is why premium/executive sedans are facing a challenge.”
The company will aim to replicate the success of the Creta with the Tucson when it launches. Hyundai aims to achieve 50 percent localisation and the SUV is likely to carry a price-tag of around Rs 17-22 lakh(ex-showroom, Delhi). This price range would allow the Tucson to undercut its key rival, the Honda CR-V.