Bhubaneshwar: South Korean auto major Hyundai could bring in a smaller electric SUV to India after assessing the response for its bigger Kona electric SUV which it plans to introduce in the country next year, a top company official said.
The company, which operates in the country through its wholly-owned subsidiary Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), would launch its first electric model Kona in the second half of the next year. “We are planning to unveil Kona electric SUV in the second half of next year on completely-knocked down basis (CKD). Our electric vehicle strategy is top to down,” HMIL Managing Director & CEO YK Koo told PTI here.
With Kona, the company is going to test the market for electric vehicles (EV) in India, he added. “It (Kona) is not going to be volume product for us. After then we can review which other EV product can suit the Indian market,” Koo said. When asked if the second EV product could be a sedan or a SUV, Koo said: “We will review both sedan and SUV (body styles) but I think chances for bringing an SUV are much higher”.
The company currently sells SUVs like Creta and Tuscon with conventional petrol and diesel engines. It is also set to bring in a sub 4-metre compact SUV next year, which will compete with the likes of Maruti Vitara Brezza, Tata Motors Nexon and Ford EcoSport. Koo said the company may also look at an entry-level micro SUV in the future. “…after 4-5 years we can review and take a call on a micro SUV. May be the demand will be there for such a vehicle at that time,” he said.
When asked if the company could also bring in models with hybrid technology, Koo said: “Hybrid is not our choice as government is focusing on EV and hence we have chosen Kona. However we have technology both for both EVs and hybrids and utilise when required”. On expectations from recently introduced new Santro, Koo said the company is looking to sell around 8,000-9,000 units per month , thus garnering a market share if around 30 per cent to begin with in the 30,000 strong per month mid compact segment.
Terming the product as very important for Hyundai, Koo said it will help in bring in entry level customers to the company’s fold. “When we phased it out (Santro) in 2014 we lost out strong presence in the entry segment but now the time has come not only to regain volumes but also market share in the segment,” he said. “The product completes our product line up from entry level to the premium segment,” Koo added. Earlier this year, Hyundai announced plans to invest over USD 1 billion in India in the next three years on new products, development of powertrain and setting up of a new office building. It has lined up nine products to be introduced between 2018 and 2020.