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 FE’s 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 car’s launch, we have been able to sell over 35,000 units of the Grand i10.
This year has been quite challenging for Hyundai. Isn’t 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 weren’t 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 segments—the 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 weren’t present in any of these segments. Then, with the Grand i10, we entered the compact diesel segment,