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Hyundai Steps On The Gas, But Is Still Miles Behind Maruti Suzuki

Hyundai India plans to launch a new hatchback this year, following it with a couple of SUVs in the next two years.

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Car and Bike
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Hyundai Steps On The Gas, But Is Still Miles Behind Maruti Suzuki
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Everyone remembers the first man on the moon, but struggles with the second. It’s just not easy being No 2. That plays out in India’s automotive market as well, with Hyundai India managing to secure about 17 percent of the market for itself in the past 20 years.

Trouble is, the leader Maruti Suzuki has got the lion’s share of the market at 52 percent. Catching up is not going to be easy.

Hyundai is currently celebrating 20 years of its existence in India. The company rolled out its first car for the Indian market - the Hyundai Santro in September 1998 - and this car did manage to make Hyundai a household name.

The Hyundai Santro Xing was the last facelift of the Santro, which sold between 1999 and 2015. 
(Photo: Hyundai)

In fact, Hyundai had a headstart in the “tall-boy” segment, as the Maruti Wagon R came in only in December 1999. Hyundai followed up the Santro hatchback, with the Accent sedan in 1999, which did fairly well against the Maruti Esteem.

The company was also instrumental in pioneering the premium hatchback segment with the Hyundai Getz in 2004, which was then dominated by the Maruti Swift since 2005 (again relegating Hyundai to No 2, despite the headstart it got).

A mural at the Hyundai plant celebrating 20 years of the company in India. 
(Photo: The Quint)
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Steady at No. 2

While Hyundai may be India’s number 2 carmaker, it still has a sizeable share of the market at 17 percent. The company has sold over 5.3 million cars in the Indian market in 20 years, but that’s still nowhere close to what Maruti Suzuki sells. The latter does close to 1.8 million cars a year!

Still, Hyundai is still head and shoulders above its nearest competitor in No 3, which is currently Tata with close to 7 percent share, followed by Honda and Mahindra. What’s Maruti Suzuki’s secret sauce? Its dealership network.

Maruti has over 2,000 dealers and 3,300 workshops across India. Hyundai, in comparison, has 495 dealers and over 1,300 service centres. So despite Hyundai getting a headstart in a couple of segments, Maruti Suzuki has managed to stay ahead by its sheer reach. 

The top five cars by volume are Maruti Suzuki cars in India, but the sixth and seventh spot are taken by Hyundai with the Elite i20 and Creta, both selling around 11,000 units a month. These have been its bread and butter models in the country.

Snapshot

Top 10 Car Sales in June 2018

  • Maruti Suzuki Dzire: 24,465 units
    Maruti Suzuki Swift: 18,171 units
  • Maruti Suzuki Alto: 18,070 units
  • Maruti Suzuki Baleno: 17,850 units
  • Maruti Suzuki WagonR: 11,311 units
  • Hyundai Elite i20: 11,262 units
    Hyundai Creta: 11,111 units
  • Maruti Vitara Brezza: 10,713 units
  • Hyundai Grand i10: 10,343 units
  • Honda Amaze: 9,103 units

Source: SIAM

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New Models Planned

The Hyundai test mule that can very well be the next Santro.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@anuragkakkar93)

Hyundai India had recently invited The Quint to its plant in Chennai to showcase its progress over the past 20 years. It has 2 plants within its sprawling campus at Sriperumbudur on the outskirts of Chennai, with a capacity of 700,000 cars a year.

Currently the company makes the Eon, Grand i10, Elite i20, Xcent, Creta and Verna at this plant, besides assembling the Elantra and Tucson.

The assembly line at Hyundai India plant near Chennai.
(Photo: The Quint)

The next model that will be coming out is the AH2 hatchback (which most reports point as being the next-generation Santro). This will be launched this festive season. The company now wants to focus on SUVs. It plans to launch a compact SUV just below the Creta (no, not the i20 Active) and a micro-SUV (that will rival the Mahindra KUV100) later.

The company plans to invest $1 billion till 2020 on new facilities, including a new office building in Gurugram. Still, until it reaches the size and scale of Maruti Suzuki, it will have to remain content at No 2, which isn’t that bad either, given its sales growth.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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