In August last year we broke the news that Hyundai was seriously evaluating the introduction of the Ioniq hybrid in the Indian market and now, after receiving an encouraging response from potential customers, the Korean car maker has finally given the green light for the launch of its hybrid car.
“We have just finished conducting an extensive customer clinic in Delhi and the feedback has been quite positive” says Y.K. Koo, Managing Director and CEO, Hyundai Motor India who is keen to launch the Ioniq as quickly as possible to usurp the Toyota Prius’ position as the premier full hybrid in the country.
Also, with the crackdown on vehicular emission by policy makers, activists, environmental agencies and the courts, the promotion of cleaner hybrid and electric vehicles is high on their agenda. Hyundai is keen to ride this green wave sweeping the auto industry and is using the 2018 Auto Expo next February to showcase its eco-friendly credentials.
“We have decided to launch the Ioniq at next year’s Auto Expo” confirmed Koo who also added, “the Ioniq will not be a CBU (import) but will be a CKD (completely-knocked-down) unit.”
The decision to locally assemble the high-tech Ioniq is a big commitment from Hyundai to the still miniscule hybrid segment in India but, after witnessing the success of the locally built Toyota Camry, the Korean carmaker is confident of selling decent volumes to justify local production. Hyundai aims to sell on average 100 Ioniqs every month, a hugely ambitious target, and a lot will depend on price.
Hyundai will no doubt take full advantage of all the tax and fiscal benefits that locally produced hybrids enjoy. “Our aim is to price the Ioniq around the Rs 25 lakh” said Koo who was quick to add, “this is a tough target but we are working hard towards it.” Even if Hyundai achieves an ex-showroom price of Rs. 30 lakh that would still make the Ioniq a massive Rs 9 lakh cheaper than its direct rival, the recently-launched Toyota Prius, which is a substantial advantage.
The Ioniq hybrid, which made its global debut in early 2016, is a little wider but shorter than the Prius. It is powered by a combination of a 1.6-litre GDi petrol motor developing 102hp and 146.4Nm of torque and a 42.4hp electric motor with 169.4Nm of pulling power, resulting in a total output of 144.2hp and 315.8Nm. Power is channeled to the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
Like the Prius, the Ioniq looks futuristic and quite different from conventional cars. And that’s the whole point. When you’re driving an Ioniq everyone knows your driving a hybrid and nothing else, which is a good way for owners to flaunt that they really care for the planet.
The Ioniq won’t even register a blip on Hyundai’s sales charts but what it has done is thrown down the gauntlet to Toyota. The hybrid war has begun.