KIA bites into Hyundai’s slice of the cake

Auto Today - - Editorial - Yo­gen­dra Pratap Ed­i­tor yo­gen­dra.pratap@in­to­ @Yo­genPratap


was the first com­pany to make In­dia one of its global man­u­fac­tur­ing hubs for small cars and from day one its plants have op­er­ated at full ca­pac­ity, with the com­pany tweak­ing pro­duc­tion to meet do­mes­tic and global de­mands. I’ve driven quite a few

In­dian-made cars abroad and was pleas­antly sur­prised when I drove the i10 in the UK in the hey­day of the scrap­page schemes and the i10’s sell­ing like hot­cakes. How­ever, Hyundai needs more of that ca­pac­ity for the do­mes­tic mar­ket as sales have risen steadily.

Now that the com­pany has an­nounced a slew of new mod­els in­clud­ing the elec­tric Kona, it seems that Hyundai will have to ex­pand its show­rooms and its build­ing ca­pac­ity. Maruti-Suzuki has added the Nexa range and smartly man­aged to find ad­di­tional space for its in­creas­ing model port­fo­lio. That may be one way to go. But Hyundai al­ready has a pre­mium brand in the form of Ge­n­e­sis that it will be launch­ing in In­dia and so it might have to go for a three-tier strat­egy. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how it deals with this chal­lenge but in the mean­time our Top Story fo­cuses on the slew of model launches the com­pany has planned by the turn of this decade.

The other ma­jor chal­lenge though is ex­pected to come from KIA Mo­tors and we drove two of the com­pany’s cars ex­pected to be sold in In­dia and also com­pared KIA’s Sportage with Hyundai’s Tuc­son. From what we’ve seen this far, while most of the KIA cars are ahead of its sib­ling’s in de­sign and style, Hyundai may still be rul­ing the roost when it comes to in­te­ri­ors and the for­mer will have to up its act if it has to even chal­lenge Hyundai, leave aside Maruti-Suzuki. Apart from this we pit the pseudo-SUVs Ford Freestyle, Honda WR-V and Hyundai i20 Ac­tive against one other in our road test and ride BMW’s first In­dia-made Beemers and come away mighty im­pressed. Fi­nally we have the new scooter, Burgman Street from Suzuki and all the reg­u­lar fea­tures also in this is­sue as we com­plete another event­ful year of the mag­a­zine. Till our next is­sue, which will be the 3rd an­niver­sary of the mag­a­zine, drive safe and al­ways ride with a hel­met on.

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