Maruti, Hyundai ‘Cross Over’ to All-new Small Car Space

EN­TRY-LEVEL FO­CUS En­thused by re­sponse to Re­nault’s Kwid, Maruti is plan­ning a cross­over model of Alto, while Hyundai is work­ing on a sim­i­lar con­cept called AH

The Economic Times - - Companies - Ke­tan.Thakkar @times­

Mum­bai: Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Mo­tor In­dia are look­ing to re­vise their strat­egy for en­try-level car mod­els, given the un­ex­pected suc­cess of Re­nault’s Kwid, said sev­eral peo­ple aware of the de­vel­op­ment. Given that the Kwid’s SUV-re­lated styling cues en­thused buy­ers enough to rein­vig­o­rate the seg­ment, Maruti Suzuki is con­sid­er­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of the next Alto in a tall boy, cross­over avatar by 2018, they said. Hyundai Mo­tor In­dia has also started work on a new project in­ter­nally called AH that aims to de­liver a stylish cross­over de­sign to woo en­try-level car buy­ers in the sec­ond half of 2018, peo­ple said. The South Korean car maker es­ti­mates po­ten­tial sales of 95,000 to 1 lakh units with the new ve­hi­cle, ac­cord­ing to ven­dors.

Although a small car, the Kwid has adopted the de­sign swag­ger of a larger ve­hi­cle, prompt­ing Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai to go back to the draw­ing board. Apart from this, Mahin­dra & Mahin­dra has cre­ated a new mi­cro-SUV seg­ment with its KUV100 start­ing at .₹ 4.5 lakh, call­ing it an en­try-level SUV.

About a year af­ter the Kwid’s launch, more than 1 lakh peo­ple have ei­ther bought or booked the car. The KUV100 has got about 37,000 book­ings since its un­veil­ing in Novem­ber. The Kwid starts at .₹ 2.6 lakh. Maruti Suzuki man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Kenichi Ayukawa lauded Re­nault on its suc­cess. AT THE MARUTI SUZUKI WORK­SHOP

in­tro­duce next Alto in a tall boy, cross­over avatar by 2018

ob­served the global trend of crossovers pen­e­trat­ing the com­pact car seg­ment

with af­ford­able pric­ing make an in­ter­est­ing op­tion for In­dian con­sumers AT THE HYUNDAI STABLE also started work on a new project in­ter­nally called AH de­liver a stylish cross­over de­sign in the sec­ond half of 2018


has cre­ated a new mi­cro-SUV seg­ment with its KUV100

has got about book­ings since Novem­ber

was launch last year, Re­nault got about more than book­ings for the car “We have to con­grat­u­late them but we are not happy, so we have to have some counter mea­sure. We are de­cid­ing what kind of prod­uct is needed in that seg­ment,” he said in a re­cent in­ter­view to ET.

A se­nior ex­ec­u­tive at the largest car maker said the com­pany has ob­served the global trend of crossovers pen­e­trat­ing the com­pact car seg­ment and that body style along with af­ford­able pric­ing make for an in­ter­est­ing


op­tion for In­dian con­sumers.

“The de­sign for the new Alto is yet to be frozen for In­dia but clearly a con­sid­er­a­tion of cross­over body style is be­ing looked at,” he said.

Even as the de­sign of the next Alto is be­ing de­lib­er­ated, the new cross­over hatch from Maruti Suzuki, the Ig­nis, will be hit­ting the mar­ket in the fes­tive sea­son this year.

The Ig­nis has a tall boy de­sign with a high seat­ing po­si­tion, which will draw the at­ten­tion of prospec­tive buy­ers in the sub-.`6 lakh bracket, which makes up 35-40% of the over­all car mar­ket.

The en­try-level car mar­ket ac­counts for a fifth of the an­nual to­tal of 5.5 lakh units. The seg­ment has come alive with the Kwid, an­a­lysts said, adding that Re­nault group com­pany Nis­san will be launch­ing the Redi-Go from the Dat­sun stable in June. That car too has sim­i­larly ag­gres­sive styling, they said.

Rakesh Sri­vas­tava, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of sales and mar­ket­ing at Hyundai Mo­tor In­dia, de­clined to com­ment on fu­ture prod­uct plans but said the en­try car seg­ment had been de­clin­ing due to lack of new launches. With that hav­ing changed, the seg­ment is ex­pected to re­cover.

Ac­cord­ing to him, car pen­e­tra­tion in In­dia is still very low at 19 ve­hi­cles per 1,000 peo­ple and the en­try seg­ment is bound to grow as many users of two wheelers will look to up­grade.

“We ex­pect the en­try car seg­ment to con­tinue to have size­able vol­ume with mod­er­ate growth rate with new launches,” Sri­vas­tava said. “At Hyundai, we are watch­ing ev­ery seg­ment closely in­clud­ing the en­try seg­ment for prod­uct op­por­tu­ni­ties so as to strengthen our lead­er­ship po­si­tion with new launches of at least two new prod­ucts ev­ery year,” he said.


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