South Korean auto major Hyundai forayed into high selling compact SUV segment in India with its new model ‘Venue’, with introductory price range of Rs 6.5-11.1 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). Hyundai Venue, which made its global debut here, will take on the likes of market leader Maruti Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza, Tata Motors’ Nexon, Ford’s EcoSport and Mahindra’s XUV300, that are priced between Rs 6.48-11.99 lakh.
Identifying India as a key centre in its strategy to gain leadership in global mobility leadership, Hyundai has invested USD 100 million (over Rs 690 crore) in four years to develop Venue.
The new model has been positioned as India’s first connected car based on the company’s BlueLink technology equipped with 33 artificial intelligence and connected features, of which 10 have been specially designed for the Indian market.
It comes with three engine options -- 1 litre turbo and 1.2 litre petrol besides a 1.4 litre diesel—and sits below the company’s popular SUV Creta in terms of price and positioning.
The petrol variants are priced between Rs 6.5 -11.1 lakh, while the diesel trims are tagged between Rs 7.75-10.84 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
“The Indian market is at the centre of Hyundai’s global growth plan and the launch of Venue will strengthen our commitment to this market,” Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) MD and CEO S S Kim told reporters here.
The compact SUV segment has remained one of the few segments which has continued to grow in India even as the overall passenger vehicles market has slowed since the past 10 months.
“We wanted to give some confidence to customers. At the moment the overall economic sentiment in India is low and customers here are price sensitive,” Kim said when asked if the company’s pricing of the model was constrained by the prevailing market situation.
Hyundai will also launch Venue in various international markets including the US, Canada and Australia after its debut in India.
Asked about the expectations from Venue, HMIL Assistant Vice-President and National Sales Head Vikas Jain said it was early to predict under the current circumstances.
“So far, we have received 15,000 bookings and these will be delivered by June,” he said.
When asked about overall sales outlook for 2019, Jain said, “when we started the year we had set a target of doing 5.8 lakh units in the domestic market. At present we are holding on to it”.
Last year, HMIL posted its highest ever domestic sales at 5,45,243 units.
Commenting on the company’s preparation for BS-VI emission norms, Kim said it is on track and the company’s models will be ready when the transition takes place on April 1, 2020.
Unlike Maruti Suzuki, which has decided to stop selling diesel models due to cost escalation in the wake of BS-VI emission norms, Hyundai said it will continue to bring diesel vehicles in India.
Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) President, Head of R&D Division Albert Biermann said, “we are aware that Indian customers like fuel efficient yet fun to drive vehicles at the same time. We will continue to bring diesel engine which meets BS-VI norms”.
HMC has also announced that by 2025 it will have 44 eco-friendly new technology vehicles including electric and fuel cell in its global portfolio.
Kim, however, said launching those in India would largely depend on the development of charging infrastructure and customer demand here.
The company is slated to launch full electric version of SUV Kona in July this year.