20 YEARS OF HYUNDAI

From be­ing just an­other Korean up­start to the sec­ond largest car­maker in In­dia, Hyundai has come a long way

Evo India - - CONTENTS - WORDS by ABHISHEK WAIRA­GADE PHO­TOG­RA­PHY by GAU­RAV S THOM­BRE

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"

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