Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) expects its July 2020 retail sales to be close to 90% of the July 2019 level, primarily due to strong customer interest in the new Creta, which has received 45,000 bookings since its launch on March 16, a few days before the nationwide lockdown. “In June 2020, we touched 75% sales volume of June 2019, and in July we expect to touch 90% of last year’s level,” said Tarun Garg, director, sales & marketing, HMIL. “However, this will also depend a lot on local-level lockdowns that are now happening, which may impact our plans.” In July, parts of Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, etc., have gone under lockdown. Garg added that customers who are currently buying cars aren’t downgrading in terms of variants. “At Hyundai, we have seen people are not downgrading. For example, in the new Creta, 60% bookings have gone to the variant that has a panoramic sunroof, 60% people have booked the variant with the Blue Link connected car technology, 30% have booked automatic gearbox variants, 37% have booked the one with an air purifier; in the Verna 40% customers have booked automatic gearbox variants. These are expensive features, and it shows that a car is still an aspirational buy and customers aren’t really compromising on features,” he said.
On Tuesday, HMIL launched the new flagship SUV, the Tucson, in both diesel and petrol engine options, starting at an ex-showroom price of Rs 22.3 lakh . Garg said while there is an apparent shift in the industry towards petrol, Hyundai’s diesel cars are seeing increasing demand. “Since launch, 56% of Creta bookings have gone to diesel; as far as June bookings are concerned, it was 59% diesel. Diesel variants are more expensive than petrol, and people buy diesel for its fun-to-drive character and better fuel-efficiency.” SUVs itself now contribute to 50% of Hyundai sales (June 2020). In the last fiscal, SUVs contributed 33% to company’s sales. “In the January to June 2020 period, HMIL has emerged as India’s biggest SUV player, thanks to the success of the Venue and the new Creta,” added Garg.
The reason behind launching a premium SUV such as the Tucson is that there are more than 5 lakh Creta owners in India, and “a lot of them would want to upgrade within the Hyundai brand,” said Garg. During the lockdown, digital queries for HMIL cars rose from 10-12% in March to over 25% now. “People are spending a lot more time on our digital platform, but we have seen that most still want to take delivery at the showroom, with their family; car-buying is a very emotional experience in India.”
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