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Hyundai Tucson Hybrid awaits government support, says HMIL

Tarun Garg, Hyundai India Director – Sales and marketing, in an exclusive interview with Express Drives, comments on future EVs from the brand, the 6-airbag mandate and the Tucson Hybrid.

Tarun Garg Hyundai India

The 4th generation Hyundai Tucson SUV has launched in India at a starting price of Rs. 27.70 lakh, ex-showroom and while with their 2-litre petrol and diesel engines are adorned in the Indian market, Tarun Garg also addressed the viability of bringing its Hybrid and plug-in hybrid iteration in India. 

Hyundai Tucson Hybrid in India

“We have to see what technology is supported by the government of India and as of now it seems that battery electric vehicles are the ones being focussed, so we have done the same. We will offer six Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) in India by 2028. As for the Tucson Hybrid, we have access to all the technology and it is only about hitting at the right time. Once the government is ready and supportive, we will take the decision,” said Garg.

The Hyundai Tucson has banked on safety and offers level 2 ADAS with the Tucson. When enquired about how much it cost to add ADAS to the SUV, Garg replied “for a tech like ADAS, it’s more about introducing this technology rather than the price part of it, price should not come into the equation. Because once this tech is offered by a big company like Hyundai, it means that it comes with some reliability and that sort of network (from a major manufacturer in India).

It was quite ironic to enquire about the arrival of an affordable electric vehicle from one of the top OEMs in India while their newly-launched Tucson’s 2-litre diesel engine hummed in the background. With consumers hopefully looking at India’s mass automobile manufacturers to offer an affordable EV to end their ‘high petrol price’ woes, Hyundai asks to be patient.  

“We will have EVs in various segments, but for India, we will follow the top-down approach. We began with the Kona, followed by Ioniq 5, and then battery electric vehicles will fill the gap. We are working on the entire ecosystem, because EV is just not about the product, but also about chargers, localisations. Various departments are working at different levels to bring an EV, but it will not be anytime soon, said Tarun Garg, Hyundai India Director – Sales and marketing.

“In 2019 we launched the Kona, with a range of 450kms and we aim at offering 6 battery powered vehicles before 2028, we have also announced the Ioniq 5 and we know that EVs play very important role,” he added.

Hyundai has a backlog of 1.30 lakh bookings

Addressing the current wave around high waiting periods, Garg said that even they aren’t immune to the semiconductor chip shortage. “We are currently sitting on a backlog of 1.30 lakh bookings, but customers have been quite patient as they understand that it’s a global issue.  

On Hyundai Tucson’s launch it was revealed that the flagship SUV has a waiting period of 8 months and they currently stand on 5000 bookings. The brand’s second product with the maximum waiting period is the Creta with a waiting time of 2-4 months. 

6 airbags on the Santro?

The Indian government and automobile manufacturers have gone to and fro in response to the 6-airbag mandate in India. While Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, recently called out manufacturers quoting that each additional airbag would only cost Rs 800, we asked if Hyundai’s more affordable variants such as the Santro, i10, etc would meet the mandate. 

“We have been a company that has always met the regulations even before they were mandated and we will continue to do that, whether it is the 6 airbag rule or even Bharat NCAP, ” said Garg.

“However, it is very difficult to comment product by product but we will follow all the government regulations. I wouldn’t like to go into specifications,” he added.

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