Hyundai is gearing up to take the competition to the next level in the ever-growing Indian car market. The company already sells a slew of models in India, right from the Rs 3.65 lakh Eon hatchback to the Rs 21.3 lakh Tucson SUV, along with the popular Verna sedan and the Creta SUV. By 2020, the line-up will include new models, including an EV, and updated versions of existing cars.
The first of the new launches will be a small hatchback that is expected to hit showrooms in the coming months. A Maruti Suzuki Celerio and Tata Tiago rival, the model will take the place of the Eon in Hyundai's line-up. The new hatchback will be built on a modified HA platform that underpinned the now-discontinued i10 hatchback. Powering the car will be an updated version of the original Hyundai Santro’s ‘Epsilon’ four-cylinder petrol engine. A manual transmission will be standard, but in a first for Hyundai, the option of an automated manual transmission (AMT) will also be available. There are talks that this new model could resurrect the popular Santro name in the Indian market.
Come 2019, Hyundai will start sales of the Kona EV in India. The five-seat electric derivative of the Hyundai Kona, will be assembled in India from CKD kits and will be priced at about Rs 25 lakh. It will initially be sold in 15 cities across India, with Hyundai targeting to sell 50-60 units per month. The India-bound Kona EV will get a 39.2kWh battery pack and a 300km range. Its electric motor churns out 134hp and 395Nm of torque that allows the Kona to do the 0-100kph sprint in 9.7sec, with a top speed of 155kph. The EV's styling is similar to that of the standard model but subtle differences like the absence of exhausts and a closed grille help differentiate it. Also, it gets minor tweaks on the inside like the addition of a digital dashboard.
Hyundai will also step into the booming compact SUV market in India in 2019. The carmaker showcased a compact SUV concept called Carlino at the 2016 Auto Expo, but there's been little news of the model since. Sources tell us that development of this future Ford Ecosport, Tata Nexon and Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza fighter is well underway and this new SUV will create its own niche in the market just like the Creta. Additionally, this new SUV will also form the basis for an all-new model from the Kia stable which will hit the Indian market after the SP Concept-based SUV is launched.
Higher up the SUV ladder is the Tucson. Hyundai has unveiled the mid-cycle update for the Tucson internationally and is expected to bring it to India too. The refreshed Tucson, apart from getting styling tweaks and feature additions, also gets a new diesel engine with mild-hybrid tech. However, it remains to be seen whether the Indian market will get this engine or not. The Tucson takes on the likes of the Jeep Compass and the Volkswagen Tiguan in the Indian market.
Hyundai's stylish executive sedan for India, the Elantra is due for an update too. While the refreshed model is not out yet, one can expect minor styling tweaks with more features being added. The front and rear bumpers will get major revisions while the headlights will see LED units with projector beam setup. At the back, the license plate will move to the rear bumper and the tail-lamps will feature reworked LED inserts. The Elantra facelift is expected to hit our shores sometime next year and will take on the likes of the Skoda Octavia and the Toyota Corolla which is also expected to see an all-new model along with a badge-engineered sibling sold by Maruti.
Apart from the above, Hyundai could also bring its flagship Santa Fe SUV back to the Indian market. The previous generation model met with moderate success initially but the incoming of the Tucson did hurt sales. The latest-gen Santa Fe has radical styling with a Kona-like nose and larger dimensions for more interior room. It also features various high-tech safety features like automatic emergency braking. If launched in India, the Santa Fe could take on the likes of the Ford Endeavour, Toyota Fortuner and the Skoda Kodiaq.
The company is also testing the Hyundai i30 hathcback in India however there is no news of the model making it to our shores anytime soon.
Along with new model launches, Hyundai is also aiming to increase production capacity by 50,000 units at its Chennai plant, up from 7 lakh units to 7.5 lakh units per annum.
The production capacity enhancement and new models are sure to help India’s second-largest carmaker at a time when chief rival Maruti Suzuki is growing at a rapid pace, and there's the threat of new competition from Kia Motors too.