Given that the year has not been good for the automobile industry in general, how has been Hyundai’s performance so far?
Currently, the Indian automobile industry is facing challenging times due to the tough macro-economic conditions such as high fuel prices, interest rates, inflation, sharp rupee depreciation and lower customer sentiments. However, we are satisfied with our performance. Up to September 2013, we have grown by 1.2% over the same nine-month period last year, with total sales of 4,84,040 units, including exports of 2,01,886, compared with the sale of 4,78,902 units in the January-September period last year. However, overall industry sales were down over 5% in the January-September this year.
At a recent meeting, you said that Hyundai has achieved its highest-ever market share this year in the domestic market. Explain this in perspective.
Despite the economic slowdown, Hyundai has increased its passenger car market share in India to 20.3% in January-September 2013, against 18.3% in the same period of 2012.
It was 19.1% in both 2010 and 2011 and 19.2% in 2012. Given the encouraging response to Grand i10, followed with festive offerings and a sign of improvement in economic sentiments, we at Hyundai hope to register a 22% share this year. Interestingly, we have been the largest exporter with a market share of 46% and we would continue to maintain our leadership in exports.
It seems that sales during the ongoing festival season is not on the expected lines. How about Hyundai?
The festival season always brings positivity in the market. The last quarter of the year had a good monsoon and many auspicious days leading to enquires, walk-ins and conversions. The Grand i10 launch in the midst of the slowdown has proved to be successful for Hyundai which has helped us gain momentum.
You have said that Grand i10 is successful. Can you share some sales numbers?
We started off with a monthly sale of 6,000 plus units and increased it to 8,000 plus units now. In the last 45 days we have received 1.61 lakh enquiries and 20,000 bookings of Grand i10. Right now the top-end variants are on an eight week waiting period and the entry-level variants have around four-weeks waiting period. Last month we sold 8,411 units. We will increase new model Grand production by adding 2,000 units, crossing 10,000 units a month to reduce the waiting period as early as possible to cater to the demand.
How do you think the company will finish this year in terms of sales?
Currently our plant capacity utilisation is at 99% to match our domestic and export markets. Our annual production capacity is at 6.3 lakh units per annum; and with some re-engineering we can produce 6.8 lakh units. We are expecting highest market share this year since our inception in India and it is difficult for us to predict the numbers that we will end up with at the end of this year.
You have been talking about a new SUV, MPV and replacement for Accent sedan for quite some time. Any updates?
The UV, MUV and compact sedan segments have evolved in the last three years in India. We believe these segments have strong potential for the future and this provides us an added opportunity to evaluate these segments now. As announced, we will launch products in SUV, MPV and sedan segments in the coming years. We have also made an investment of $300 million to commission a flexible engine plant. With the addition of this plant we will be able to manufacture both petrol and diesel engines and service the requirements for domestic market and exports.