20 YEARS OF HYUNDAI
From being just another Korean upstart to the second largest carmaker in India, Hyundai has come a long way
How has Hyundai managed to hit the sweet spot in the country
HYUNDAI MOTORS India Limited will celebrate its 20th birthday in September this year. And that reminds me of my childhood days. Back in 1998 Indian car buyers had very few choices. And my father, like everyone else, had an 800 that we wanted to upgrade from. Although I was just ten years old, I did have some knowledge of cars thanks to various auto magazines and my love for go-karting. Two Korean challengers had just rocked the small car segment with their practical and stylish hatchbacks and my father faced a dilemma. Long story short, dad bought a Matiz, because I asked him to. On a gokarting championship round in another city, I drove a friend's dad's Santro (within the confines of a parking lot) and realised we had made the wrong decision. What an idiot I had been! The Santro was miles ahead and proved itself for the next 16 years as it became a cash cow for Hyundai, accounting for staggering numbers. It also took on the mighty Zen and came out tops! HMIL is the second largest carmaker in the country today and is a household name. But what is its formula for success? Let’s go back in time to find out.
HMIL has been constantly reinventing its products and bringing the latest technology to India. Leaving no stone unturned Hyundai have been pioneers, bringing international tech to our shores, be it in terms of comfort, safety and even emissions compliance. Back in 2000,
when the government of India announced the implementation of Euro II, Hyundai upgraded their cars to the new emission norms, showing what a responsible corporate citizen it was. With the Santro Zip, Hyundai did what the market leader did not. In the early 2000s, when body coloured bumpers were an optional extra along with power windows and central locking, Hyundai went ahead and offered power steering in all their models, unlike its rivals who gave it as an option only in the top-of-the-line variants. It set the stage for mass adoption of power steering, what with it being just `18,000 more than the non-assisted versions.
On the tech front, HMIL introduced a CRDI diesel in the Accent way back in 2002, a revolutionary technology back then and only seen on Mercs! It made the Accent Viva a rocket and introduced us all to the joys of a quick and torquey diesel. Hyundai was also among the first to bring variable valve timing on a petrol engine with the Sonata Transform, and later gasoline direct injection, pushing the boundaries of technological excellence while forcing other manufacturers to follow suit in bringing the latest tech to our shores.
HMIL also has its finger on the pulse of the market. Since 2000, both the company as well its cars have been topping the charts in the J D Power Asia Pacific customer satisfaction surveys. Every Hyundai owner appreciates the after sales experience and speaks very highly of the quality. Not just that, Hyundai has understood the Indian customer’s mindset really well. All its cars score very high marks when it comes to features, quality of fit and finish, space and now even dynamics. There’s a reason why its cars have won the ICOTY four times, the first three in a row. And to find out why, we caught up with six owners who've had Hyundais in their garages for years, and continue to upgrade only to Hyundais. ⌧
"Hyundai service experience has been faultless so far"