South Korean automobile major Hyundai Motor India is expecting a strong rebound in passenger vehicle sales in fiscal 2022 on the back of a better-than-expected rebound in demand for cars in the second half of last year.
The company's top boss in India S S Kim told BusinessToday.In that he was aiming for a 20 per cent growth over last fiscal partly due to low-base effect and robust demand for SUVs. Despite losing over two months worth of sales due to the lockdown in fiscal 2021, the domestic passenger vehicle saw a strong revival with annual sales declining by only 9 percent at 26,56,353 units as against initial projections of a near 25 percent drop. On the back of new launches like the next generation Creta SUV and i20 premium hatchback, the Korean carmaker performed even better with only a 3 percent drop in sales at 471,535 units during the fiscal.
"Last fiscal was a very challenging year for everybody and the focus shifted from pure business to health and safety of our employees, associates and customers. Still the demand for our cars after the lockdown was lifted was very strong," said S S Kim, managing director and CEO, HMIL. "We actually suffered from shortage of parts which meant we could not produce and sell as many as we wanted. Based on the strong demand we are witnessing and the low base (fiscal 2021), I believe a 20 percent growth this fiscal is possible."
Hyundai cited a shift in preference from shared to personal mobility was one of the reasons for the demand. It also noted increased demand for more premium products as well as a distinct advantage for SUVs as enduring themes.
"In 2015, the year we launched Creta, share of SUVs in the market was only 13.5 percent. In 2020, it went up to 29 percent and in the Q1 of calendar year 2021, it has risen even more to 34 percent. This is an overarching theme that we believe will continue," says Tarun Garg, director (sales, marketing and service) HMIL. "Clearly consumers prefer SUVs to other segments and it will continue to grow."
The company is preparing itself for the launch of its first mass three-row SUV -- Alcazar, later this month. Based on the Creta platform, it will sports the next generation version of the 2 litre petrol engine from Elantra and Creta's 1.5 litre diesel powertrain. Three-row SUVs are the new craze in the industry right now with new entrants like MG Hector + and Tata Safari in recent times. Alcazar will have the highest wheelbase in its segment and will be offered with 6 speed manual and automatic transmissions with both engines. It will be offered in both 6 and 7 seater options.
"Our engineers at the R&D Centre have invested countless man hours to ensure every aspect of Alcazar exudes magnificence. It is well set to enter a new segment, marking Hyundai's genesis into uncharted territories," Kim said. "With bold new moves, we are on a conquest of redefining benchmarks to exceed the aspirations of our customers."
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