We sat with Mr.Puneet Anand, General Manager (Marketing) & Group Head at Hyundai Motor India Ltd., for an exclusive interview on Hyundai’s upcoming products and future plans of the second largest auto maker in the country.
Here he reveals about the South Korean manufacturer’s direction with Automatic Transmission technology alongside discussing the market launches of new Tucson SUV, a ‘completely’ revised premium sedan tipped for 2017 ICOTY award and the sub-4m SUV derived from the Carlino.
He says Hyundai will bring two new products every year besides two or more facelifts per annum while emphasizing the importance of the extended Rural Sales Outlets and the integration with customers. Read on to know more:
It has been three years since Grand i10 & Xcent were introduced in India, any facelift models in the making?
As a company, as Hyundai, we always feel that our customer should get the best. It’s our company philosophy and we will upgrade two new products and will introduce two new cars. This year too, we will upgrade minimum two existing cars and will introduce two new car including the Tucson SUV and complete makeover of existing Premium sedan (Most likely Hyundai Elantra).
in Mid-2016, we will launch an anniversary edition of Hyundai Creta as well. We always think for the customer as customer is the most important asset for us and Hyundai will work only towards the customer (needs).
Hyundai has won three ICOTY (Indian Car of the Year Award) awards in the last three years, what are your aspirations for the fourth year?
ICOTY consists of 14 jury members and they know the market very well. They always suggest us and we always discuss on the upcoming product planning and on improving the current lineup because they know what customers are looking at. And from the feedback we receive from them, we develop the product that a customer will like. It will depend on value for money, design strength, technology strength, concise in terms of look and feel and affordability. These all the things we put in our products.
We are very proud of 2014 Grand i10 winning ICOTY. In 2015, Elite i20 won ICTOY and Creta won the ICOTY 2016 and for 2017, we are expecting that (award) from the two of our upcoming new cars including Tucson and a complete makeover of our existing premium product, that we call as full model change and it would be the strong contender of ICOTY 2017. But Apart from ICOTY, we always try to be on par with the customers’ expectation and we will do anything to match the customers’ demand from Hyundai.
A new micro-SUV segment has been born courtesy of Mahindra KUV100 and the upcoming Maruti Ignis, any plans from Hyundai to enter that segment space?
In India, when we see the customer’s requirement, there are demands for the dimension of the car, customers’ ego and personality. We think after looking all these aspects that there is a wide space above the Creta and below the Creta, so, for the above space, we are bringing TUCSON and for the below space, Carlino is the concept we showcased.
We have the global design center in Namia, Korea and there are lots of researches going on the sub-4 metre SUV and HND14/Carlino is the result of the same research. But we don’t wanna compete with anybody, however, competition is always good but we want our customers to get best value, best car, best spacious product and feature-rich product. So that customer will be happy and we are eying towards that segment and we want to make our self completely involved for the SUV segment.
What about the plans for the introducing Automatic Transmission in Hyundai’s hatchbacks?
Surprisingly, we have seen the strong response for Hyundai Creta Automatic. Earlier customers had a perception that Automatic cars are costly, high maintenance but now, things have changed and we are very strong in Automatic transmission technology as in our home country Korea. 99% cars are Automatic (in Korea) and now in India, customers requirement has increased for AT and we feel that we are ready and soon, our each single product will get AT by end of the 2016 fiscal year.
Eon is regularly selling for about 7000-8000 units a month but it is getting some heat from Kwid since it was launched, any updated version in the pipeline?
Absolutely, Eon is our entry level car but we don’t leave any stone unturned for our customers in terms of technology, in terms of design, safety and features. We want that whenever any prospective buyer sits in our car then he must experience that he sat in a good, strong and stylish car. Eon fits perfectly in all of our requirements that we wanna deliver to the customer. The main strength of the Eon is its quality, design, look and feel and its driving comfort. As Eon is always our one of the strongest products in India, we are doing more to strengthen it in coming months.
So, has AMT been prepared for Eon as well?
We have unlimited number of automatic technology and we are already in talks with our R&D team but the technology we will offer in Eon will be good and superior than the competitors.
From what you said so far, we could see some all-new products in the coming years?
Every year you will see minimum two new cars and two facelifts. Facelifts could be greater than two as well, but it’s our endeavour that we always do something new for our customers every year and we want customers to continuously encourages us, guide us for what to do new in the future.
How many dealerships has Hyundai planned to inaugurate in FY 2016?
Currently, Hyundai India have 450 3S dealerships along with 160-170 showroom branches and we are planning 20-25 new 3S dealership in FY2016 but other than that, Hyundai India focusing on Rural Sales Outlets as our 320 Rural Sales Outlet are already ready in small towns and small cities.
RSO have small workshops as well along with small showrooms. We don’t want our consumer to travel 100 km to buy a new car and we want to bring product and technology to his home; for that either we have to open the RSO to villages, towns and in districts. We will open the new RSO and we continually will do that.
Now, we are moving towards digital showrooms as well and very soon, you will hear something big from us for digital technology.