ICOTY 2014 marks the Grand success of the new i10

Written by Vikram Chaudhary | Updated: Dec 21 2013, 20:17pm hrs
This Wednesday, the Hyundai Grand i10 won the most coveted prize in the Indian automobile industry, the Indian Car of Year (ICOTY) award 2014. The Grand i10 is a world-class product developed for the Indian market and winning the ICOTY 2014 marks its phenomenal success, says Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice-president & division head, marketing & sales, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL). In an interaction with FEs Vikram Chaudhary, he shares how the year went for HMIL and, most importantly, the news that Hyundai is entering new segments. Excerpts:

Congratulations, sir, on the Grand i10 winning the ICOTY 2014.

Yes, the ICOTY 2014 marks the phenomenal success of the Grand i10. This car, I must say, has created a new benchmark in terms of quality, features and technology, offering a higher value proposition to Indian customers. In fact, you will be surprised to know that there are over 70 cars models sold in India by various manufacturers, and the Grand i10, within the second month of its launch, broke into the top five best-selling models. And in three months time of the cars launch, we have been able to sell over 35,000 units of the Grand i10.

This year has been quite challenging for Hyundai. Isnt it

We had anticipated that 2013 would be a challenging year not only for Hyundai but also for the Indian automobile industry as a whole. Last year, the monsoon rains werent good, so by November onwards the industry had started to decline. And we were also affected. Our focus, by the end of last year, was to maintain our market share and, if possible, grow. Our another focus was to improve the overall quality levels, customer satisfaction, etc.

Hyundai currently has three best performing cars in three major segmentsthe Elantra (executive), the Verna (mid-size) and now the Grand i10 (compact). Still, you saw muted sales

There have been three segments that grew this year: the compact sedan segment, compact diesel segment and compact SUV segment. Now, until the Grand i10 was launched, we werent present in any of these segments. Then, with the Grand i10, we entered the compact diesel segment, and now the car sells formidably. In fact, after the launch of the Grand i10, we touched a high of 20.6% market share in India. And this is the highest market share for Hyundai in India since inception! This year we also completed 15 years in India and have now sold over 5 million cars (domestic and export) during our journey. Then, in the compact high segment, we lead with the i20. Right now, we are not present in the compact sedan and compact SUV segments.

So, by when do we see Hyundais compact sedan Your compact sedan is based on the Grand i10, right

What I can say is that we are definitely working on a compact sedanit may or may not be based on the Grand i10. We should be ready with it by the first half of next year. Additionally, we are also working on a compact SUV.

This year, we had good monsoon rains. It can reflect into rising four-wheeler sales at least as far as small cars are concerned. Is your smallest car, the Eon, too aspirational a product for small-town India

I will say it is the most aspirational car in its segment. With the Eon what we have done is provide a very good quality product to small car buyers. None of its competitor cars are as well put together. It may be slightly costlier, but it is the best value-for-money car in its segment. This year, high interest rates because of high inflation and high petrol prices strongly affected the entry-car buyers and the segment slowed down. But, in that slowing down, the Eon was the least affected.