After the successful launch of the new Hyundai Santro, the South-Korean carmaker, Hyundai Motor India is now set to accelerate its focus on other upcoming products and also plans an aggressive strategy for electric vehicles. The company has already confirmed the launch of electric Hyundai Kona SUV in India in 2019 and it says that its EV strategy is a top-down strategy. This means it will bring in premium electric cars and SUVs first in India before investing in smaller mass-market electric cars in India.
Hyundai Motor India has already confirmed that the electric version of Hyundai Kona will be assembled here and come to India via the completely-knocked-down (CKD) route to India which will see lesser taxes than being sold as a CBU. For Hyundai, this is a test in the Indian EV market. Globally popular Kona and Ioniq brands lead the hybrid and EV portfolio in the company's line-up and with Indians more inclined towards SUV the choice of bringing Kona to India was very obvious.
In a PTI Interview, Y K Koo, MD & CEO, Hyundai Motor India said that the Hyundai Kona is not going to be a volume product for us, with this the company will be able to review which other EV product can suit the Indian market. There is also a chance of the company bringing in Hyundai Ioniq in India, Koo further said that the company is considering its second product to be a sedan. However, the chances of it being an SUV is much higher. Currently, Hyundai has its Creta and Tuscon SUV on sale in India and in the next 1.5 years the company will launch its new sub-compact SUV that will challenge the likes of Ford Ecosport, Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Honda WR-V and Tata Nexon. While Koo did not further say anything about which of its SUV will get an electric powertrain, it would be interesting to see an electric version of Hyundai Creta.
Hyundai plans to launch nine new vehicles in India over the next 3-4 years and might also bring in an entry-level micro SUV. The launch timelines of these new SUVs have not been defined. The Indian Government's stance on electric vehicles is very cleary and it might not budge of deviating its policy towards hybrids. PTI Interview further quotes Koo saying "Hybrid is not our choice as the government is focusing on EV and hence we have chosen Kona." Globally, Hyundai has the expertise in both EVs and hybrids and can change its strategy if hybrids come to focus.
Hyundai has announced an investment of $1 billion in India over the next three years towards new product development, EVs and setting up a new office building in Gurgaon. It will launch nine new products by 2020 and will also be ready with its BSVI products well ahead of the April 2020 deadline.
Quotes by PTI