Hyundai Santa Fe to be assembled locally soon

Hyundai Motor India is planning to start local assembly of its Santa Fe, SUV which will help the company price the vehicle competitively, thereby boosting sales.

Currently, Hyundai Santa Fe is offered in two variants priced at Rs. 20.95 lakh for the 2WD (4×2 version) and Rs. 22.95 lakh for the 4WD (4×4 version). All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi. But if Hyundai’s plans fall into place, you could get a Santa Fe for just under Rs. 19 lakhs. Also read: Hyundai Santa Fe launched

At present, the Hyundai Santa Fe is imported as CBU (Completely Built Unit) and attracts a high import duty of 110 per cent making the car’s price up to Rs. 21-23 lakh. However, when the Santa Fe is assembled via the CKD process, it will attract a lesser import duty of 60 per cent. This will help the Korean car maker reduce the price by up to Rs. 3 lakh.

When the Santa Fe is assembled locally, the price could be in the Rs. 18 lakh to Rs 21 lakh range thus attracting a lot more price-conscious buyers, and giving it access to a larger market. The top-selling SUV in the entry-level premium SUV segment of the country, Toyota Fortuner starts at Rs.20.1 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and other cars in the segment like the Ford Endeavour are priced ranging from Rs. 17 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.

Hyundai’s Santa Fe is currently undergoing homologation (approval process) at the Indian-government owned (ARAI) Automotive Research Association of India, Pune. As the company plans to assemble the SUV in India, a few body shells are being subjected to structural stress tests at ARAI. Also read: Hyundai i20 CRDi diesel Asta road test

These tests are generally done only a few months before local assembly clearly hinting that Santa Fe’s CKD (Completely Knocked Down Kits) route will be open shortly. Hyundai remained non-committal to a timeline for local assembly when contacted.

“Starting CKD operations for the Santa Fe is part of our plan,” Arvind Saxena, Marketing and Sales Director, Hyundai Motor India said on the sidelines of a Hyundai Verna test drive event.

hyundai santa fe front view photo
Photo: Hyundai Santa Fe

He added that, Hyundai would wait for volumes to touch at least 150 units a month for it to make sense economically, and at present, the company is selling about 100 units (of Santa Fe) a month.

Bookings to open this June

Hyundai launched the Santa Fe in India in October 2010 and the sales of this SUV is likely to hit 600 units by June 2011. The company stopped taking further bookings in order to finish reaching its initial sales target.

Once it is reached, the company will re-open bookings for the Santa Fe after June for the second batch of 600-800 units. Saxena mentioned that Hyundai will look to service the second lot of bookings in the next 6-8 months and their target is to sell about 1,400 units of the Santa Fe in a year’s time.

Hyundai Santa Fe is powered by a 2199 cc four cylinder 16 valve, DOHC, CRDi engine that churns out a rather healthy 197 bhp at 4000 rpm of maximum power and 420 Nm at 1800-2500 rpm of maximum torque. The engine is mated to 6-speed manual transmission.

As per ARAI, the mileage is a respectable 14.66 km/litre. The 4WD (four wheel drive) system of the Santa Fe is a ‘Torque on Demand’ system with an electronic clutch. The Santa Fe is a genuine 7-seater SUV with a provision for splitting the second row of seats 60:40and the the third row of seats 50:50.

The Santa Fe competes with the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Endeavour, Chevrolet Captiva, Mitsubishi Pajero, Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail, as well as the BMW X1.