What has helped is the amount of choice on offer—from manual to automatic and from petrol to diesel.
In addition to the pent-up demand and a section of commuters shifting from public transport to private vehicles post-lockdown, what has helped sales of Hyundai cars, in particular, is the sheer amount of choice on offer, says a company executive. In September 2020, it sold 50,313 cars in the domestic market, a 23.6% increase over the 40,705 cars it sold in September 2019. Hyundai India offers hatchback cars, sedans, SUVs and an electric car. As far as fuel options are concerned, it sells seven petrol engines (four naturally-aspirated, three turbocharged), four diesel engines, two CNG engine options, and one electric. It also has a range of gearbox options: two manual, one iMT, and five automatic. “The aim is to be in the consideration set of any Indian buyer for any type of mobility need related to four-wheelers,” says Tarun Garg, Director, Sales & Marketing, Hyundai Motor India. “Be it owning a new car or a used car for shared mobility or even subscribing a car, we have an option. Having been in India for over 23 years, we are in a position to offer the customer whatever she wants.”
Over the last few years, the sales share of automatic gearbox cars is increasing. Auto industry experts FE talked to said from 2-3% in 2013, today automatic gearbox cars form about 20% of the market. In CY19, the sales share of automatic variants in Hyundai’s Santro was 22%, in the Creta it was 17%, in the Verna 20%, and in the Nios a high 28%. Hyundai India offers five automatic options—AMT, 6AT, 8AT, IVT and DCT. “While we offer five automatic options, we also offer a technology that falls between automatic and manual, i.e. the iMT (intelligent Manual Transmission). We don’t want to limit the choice for the buyer, but have instead brought in all the technologies available globally,” Garg says. “The iMT is priced just about Rs 20,000 over a manual gearbox.”
Not discontinuing diesel engines post-BS6 also contributed to Hyundai sales. Last month its diesel car sales were 27% of the total cars it sold. “Telangana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh still are diesel engine markets, with 45-50% diesel engine car sales. Because we offer diesel engines and because we are able to offer our customers such a wide choice, we have been able to enhance our sales numbers and take market leadership in some of the segments,” Garg adds. In the company’s new Creta, for example, during the April to August 2020 period, the diesel variant sales percentage was 62%, and even in the Venue and the Verna it was close to 33%.
Another area where Hyundai has attracted buyers is the connected car segment. It offers ‘connectivity’ features in five models (Venue, Verna, Creta, Elantra and Tucson), and had sold 59,538 units collectively till August 2020—the connected car technology was first launched in the Venue in May 2019. While Maruti Suzuki is the market leader in CNG vehicles, Hyundai India, Garg says, had sold close to 2,500 CNG cars in August 2020, and aims to reach the 3,000-unit per month mark soon.
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