On the trail of Next Gen Verna’s journey to perfection
This award-winning, Next Gen car has style, comfort, safety and fresh packaging of a sedan
After storming into market in 2006, Hyundai Verna outperformed all the sedan models and continue to dominate the Indian roads. In August 2017, Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) launched the Next Gen Verna. An instant hit, Verna recently received the Indian Car Of The Year 2018 (ICOTY) award for its convincing, fresh packaging of a sedan. The new Verna’s retuned engine, new transmissions, the much-improved ride and handling dynamics, and the European design language, have made it more appealing. To find out how the new Verna is manufactured, Auto Components India visited HMIL’s plant in Sriperumbudur near Chennai and followed its journey to perfection – from the press shop to the dispatch point.
The Verna arrived in 2006 replacing Accent, a few months after HMIL had rolled out the 10,00,000th car in India. With it came an interesting new design language that clearly set it apart from the competition. Instead of straight lines, bold curves with larger headlamps and tail lamps accentuated the design philosophy. It was powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder CRDi turbo-diesel engine and a more powerful petrol engine. Five years later, the second-generation Fluidic Verna was introduced, and it set the benchmark for design and interior quality. It packed updated 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines and brought in new transmission options. For a dynamic appeal, the Next Gen Verna boasts of sporty styling, with a mix of smooth curves and sharp creases, giving it a contemporary stance.
Adapting to the constantly evolving Indian car market, dynamics is very important. Customers here want stylish and contemporary design, comfortable and well-equipped interior, high level of safety and driving efficiency, all packaged into one with an attractive price tag. Hyundai accomplished this rare feat with the Next Gen Verna.
The production process of Next Gen Verna is done through the press shop, body shop, paint shop, engine shop and assembly shop. Engine making is a separate process. In the engine shop, engine is made from the scratch. From Hyundai’s aluminum foundry, raw materials like aluminum blocks come and the engine is made with utmost care and accuracy. Aluminum is also sourced from their customers. The Hyundai Next Gen Verna brings the better engine choices with the most powerful petrol and diesel engines. The choice of transmissions lets one have fun or experience maximum convenience.
The journey of a car in the mak- ing begins from the sheet metal roll in the press shop. A chassis has to be strong and rigid, yet lightweight as can be, for efficiency, and crumple-ready. Modern chassis design builds on the monocoque (or ‘single shell’). Hyundai has balanced the use of material to the extent that 50% of it is constructed from Advanced High-strength Steel (AHSS). The components that form parts of the structure and panels are hot-stamped. This is the key process that makes highstrength steel.
Use of this steel in critical areas, such as the pillars and stresspoints around the passenger cell, ensures maximum structural integrity, torsional rigidity and maximum safety. The lighter front portions are designed to crumple and absorb energy in the event of a crash, dissipating the energy and diverting it away from the passenger cell to ensure highest safety.
In the press shop the capacity
of modular presses are 3500 tonne and 5400 tonne. So, the press capacity is defined by the number of slides. If the press has 5400 tonne capacity, there will be 4 available slides. The 4 slides include draw panel, trimming, piercing and camouflaging. The press shop has 4 stamping presses, trial press for die repair and a blanking machine.
Once the outer panel of fender, roof, tail gate, hood outer, door interiors and side outer for both the sides are made, various quality checks will be done to ensure high precision and consistency is maintained. All the panels are made of galvanised steel. The sheets are cut in the blanking press followed by washing, levelling and looping. The pressed panels are inspected and sent to the body shop.
The floor-pan is the bottom of the monocoque chassis that forms the structure of the car. The floor panel and side panel are made with great accuracy where side panel goes over head to the main line. The parts come in a loop form to streamline the production with high quality. After further strengthening, the roof gets attached followed by the doors, bonnet and hood. Robots put together all the body panels with micrometre precision. In practice, Hyundai’s commitment to the production process, employee training, and quality adherence are a seamless sequence of activity with utmost rhythm and precision. All the welding operations are 100% automated. Three types of welding are deployed; MIG, spot and CO2. Spot welding is done in most areas with 100% automation, and in bud joint areas CO2 welding is performed. The process of body panel has 100 stations and hence it takes 100 minutes. The body shop has 97% automation because of its complexity. After ensuring everything is perfect, it is sent to the paint shop.
The most colourful aspect in the process of car building, one that involves a move to a separate facility just outside the main facility overlooking the test-track, is painting. The raw body goes into the paint shop for a multilayer painting. Then the painted body of the car travels to the assembly shop.
The painted car enters the assembly line where workers come around it to install various aggregates like wiring harness, seat belts, taillights, dashboard, interior panels, boot lid openers, etc. After this, the car is taken on an overhead conveyor belt and lowered into the second assembly line where the engine, which comes from the assembly line fitted with belts and connectors, and body are assembled or married together.
The painted body with the engine moves in the assembly line where the interiors and tyres are fixed. IP will be fixed inside the car. The interior is put together by humans and not by robots. The movement of parts is all automatic with several machines and specificallydesigned contraptions to assist with very specific tasks like the positioning and fitment of the dashboard into the car. The interior begins with the installation of the firewall and sound-deadening material before the dashboard goes in. The pedals go in next and all the components are secured. The wiring harness, especially the nervous system of the car and all its systems, goes in thereafter. The trim section, also simultaneously manages putting together the interior trim with seamless ease that makes one appreciate the level of attention given and practiced. It’s here that the door and internal mechanicals for window and mirror operations are trimmed and go back on to the car. Meanwhile, the digital checking is done.
Both the monocoque and under body are given protective treatment to preclude them from getting affected by rust or any harmful substances encountered during vehicle’s life due to different reasons. The under body
is given an anti-corrosion treatment, which avoids rusting.
Simulating abundant waterspout is the foremost way to check the water-resistance of parts and watertight quality of the cabin and areas meant to be protected from the forces of nature. A slow conveyor belt that looks like a broad, mechanised, path tardily bring the Next Gen Verna towards the concluding check point, under a blazing array of nitic lights and sets of scanning eyes that spot for any imperfection in the paint and construction once before the car heads out for a proper all-surface road test.
Once the multiple checking is done, the car will be taken to the test-track. The test track is equipped with braking, gradients, fast curves, and tight corner tracks to ensure the cars are tested in every possible scenario for their dynamic ability. After the test clearance, the car goes for final pre-delivery inspection (PDI). Once the inspection is completed, the car will be sent to the dispatch area. HMIL, the second largest automobile manufacturer in India, has 2 manufacturing plants and have the most advanced production, quality and testing capabilities. It currently has 9 models across segments– Eon, Grand i10, Elite i20, i20 Active, Xcent, Verna, Creta, Elantra and Tucson.
For added visual impact, the new Verna packs a cascade front grille draped in chrome, auto- matic projector headlamps with LED DRL and cornering function that deliver masterful illumination, and even projector foglamps with chrome surrounds. Stylish 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels look sharp, and the sleek wing mirrors with integrated turn indicators do more than just look good. This does not come at the cost of fuel efficiency, though.
The Verna is among the most fuel-efficient cars in its segment. It also packs better safety technology than its rivals. The key is striking the right balance, and Hyundai has nailed it with the Next Gen Verna — style, comfort, efficiency, safety, driving dynamics, entertainment, and communication, it has them all.