Hyundai micro SUV for India could compete against the likes of Tata Punch and it could be powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine
Hyundai ended the production of the Santro entry-level hatchback at its Sriperumbudur plant in Tamil Nadu a couple of months ago as it could not replicate the success of the original version, which was introduced in 1998 and laid the foundation for Hyundai to become the second largest car producer in the country.
Following a lengthy absence, the Santro nameplate returned to India in late 2018 celebrating the twentieth year anniversary of the original model. It replaced the Eon and was positioned as the most affordable volume-based car within the company’s domestic range during its existence. With Santro no more on sale, there is a wide gap exists as the now entry-level Hyundai car, the Grand i10 Nios compact hatchback, costs Rs. 5.39 lakh (ex-showroom).
Despite buyers preferring compact and midsize SUVs and the prices of passenger vehicles increasing exponentially, the Tata Punch micro SUV has proved that there is an SUV market to tap into below the current crop of compact SUVs. The Punch has been a top seller for Tata Motors ever since it made its market debut last year.
With manufacturers electing to stay out of the entry-level car space due to its low-profit margins, the success of the Punch could trigger brands like Hyundai to have a go at the micro SUV segment. Will it be the global Casper? Since the Casper was introduced in South Korea late last year, its possible entry into the Indian market has been running wild.
However, many reports indicated that it could be deemed too small as it has an overall length of under 3.6 metres. The micro SUV for India could be specifically developed with local customers in mind and it will likely launch in the near future. It could use the same 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine found in the Grand i10 Nios and i20.
Whether its styling will be influenced by the Casper or not is yet unknown and we can expect it to come packed with features. Hyundai is also developing an electric vehicle for India and it is expected to be introduced sometime in 2024, likely based on the Venue’s architecture.