South Korean carmaker Hyundai is looking to capitalise on India’s growing appetite for SUVs and crossovers by launching six new sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossovers in the next 3 to 5 years. According to ET Auto’s report, prices for the new utility vehicles from Hyundai will range from Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 40 lakh as the carmaker looks to push forward in a segment of cars that accounted for a quarter of car sales in India.
Maruti Brezza-challenging Carlino
Leading Hyundai’s utility vehicle assault on the Indian market will be the SUV codenamed QXi, which is based on the Carlino SUV concept showcased at the Auto Expo 2016. The Carlino-based SUV will arrive on Indian roads in 2019 and is expected to be powered by the 1.4-litre diesel engine found on the current Creta which pumps out 88.7bhp and 220 Nm of torque. The QXi will use a new 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 110 Bhp on tap. Codenamed the QXi, the Carlino will challenge the Maruti Brezza. It’s likely to be more powerful than the Maruti Brezza.
7 seat next-gen Creta
The launch of the QXi will be followed by the next-gen i20 Active and the new Creta. Hyundai also plans to introduce a 7-seat version of the Creta codenamed SU2i, sometime between 2020 and 2023.
Mahindra KUV100-rivaling Micro SUV
Hyundai will also attack the entry-level micro SUV/UV segment which currently plays host to the Mahindra KUV100 and the Maruti Ignis crossover with a new micro SUV that will be priced at around Rs 4 lakh. Details about the micro SUV are still scarce.
However, the biggest worry for Hyundai currently are the over 4 lakh owners of the Hyundai Creta, who will be looking to upgrade their vehicle in the future. The company does not want to allow these loyal customers to slip into the hands of large SUVs from rivals in the form of the Toyota Fortuner and the Jeep Compass.
Speaking to ET Auto, Y K Koo, MD of Hyundai Motor India, said, “We are going to be strengthening our SUV portfolio both below and above Creta. The QXi and Micro SUV can address the affordable end of the market. We also want to retain our existing Creta customers who will be looking for an upgrade going ahead, and we will not allow these customers to go to the competition.”
Jeep Compass-rivaling next-gen Tucson
To address this issue, Hyundai will launch 5 and 7-seater versions of the next-gen Tucson (codenamed NX4i) in the Indian market after the arrival of the SU2i 7-seater Creta. However, to ensure that the new NX4i twins don’t go the way of the current Tucson and Santa Fe, Hyundai plans to locally manufacture the new-gen Tucson in India. The Tucson is currently imported as CKDs, which drives up its price.
The 7-seat version of the next-gen Tucson will square off against the mighty Toyota Fortuner. This is the first time that Hyundai is building a dedicated Toyota Fortuner rival in India. A lot of existing Hyundai SUV owners and Toyota Fortuner owners will be looking forward to this SUV.
By building the next Tucson in India, Hyundai aims to keep prices extremely competitive to ensure that the current Creta owners stay with the Hyundai badge for their upgrade.
Hyundai also plans to assemble the Kona electric SUV in India which would mean that over 60% of Hyundai’s line-up for India in the next 3-5 years will consist of SUVs and crossovers. India’s utility vehicle market has more than doubled in the last five years to almost 9.2 lakh units sold per year. However, given India’s seemingly never-ending appetite for utility vehicles, it comes as no surprise that carmakers are planning for 50 new vehicles for India in the next three to five years, which should see the market for utility vehicles grow to 15 lakh units in the next three to five years.