Last month, Hyundai produced its last Santro. A car that has been the bedrock of the brand in India since its inception in 1998. The Santro was axed from the line-up to make way for other, more profitable new cars such as the Grand i10 and the new Elite i20. A car that started the tall boy trend, the Santro may be cramped by today's standards, but back in the day, provided a lot of space for not a lot of money. Other key strengths included a responsive peppy petrol engine, a nice gearbox and near bulletproof reliability. And Hyundai kept upgrading it over the years.
The first-generation Hyundai Santro for India was famous for its tall-boy design.
While production is now shut, demand for the car is still healthy. Some dealers still have stocks, but are apparently in no hurry to liquidate them. In fact, some customers are willing to pay a bit of a premium for the car. The main reasons for the Santro's demise, of course, is the unexpected windfall in numbers for Hyundai's other models. It all started with the better than expected sales of the new Grand i10 and, more recently, the strong showing of the new Elite i20, our recently announced Car of the Year. To put things in perspective, the i20 is currently running at a strong 9,345 a month (December 2014), but sales and marketing head Rakesh Srivastava thinks numbers can be much better. "We have the potential to go up to around 14,000 cars, and even take on the Swift in the future". Who said large hatchbacks don't sell well in India?