"The new offering will have more power and greater refinement. It will be better positioned to take on the upper-end of the premium segment. Also, the automatic transmission will appeal to owner-driven car segment," well placed sources said.
Currently, the Sonata is powered by a two litre engine. It is available in two versions - Sonata GLS and Sonata Gold priced at Rs 12.35 lakhs and Rs 13.8 lakhs (on road- Ex-Delhi). Its is seen as a value for money car in its segment as its nearest competitors Ford Mondeo and Honda Accord are priced around Rs 15 lakh. The new model will widen HMIL’s presence, in terms of features, in the premium segment.
The 2.7 litre engine is being introduced to enable the Sonata take on the increasing competition in the premium segment which is expected to see new players in the near future. Also, there is a feeling among some people that the current variants of Sonata with a two litre engine are a trifle underpowered.
The 2.7 litre engine will be imported by HMIL from the parent company in the completely knocked down kit form and would be assembled in India. The Sonata was launched in July 2001 in India and sells about 300 units to 350 units per month.
The car enjoys a 50 per cent market share in the premium segment and has sold 2,500 units since launch.