Hyundai Santro makes a comeback in India

Bollywood actor & Hyundai brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan poses for photos at the launch of the new Santro in New Delhi. PTI file photo

South Korean auto major Hyundai on Tuesday drove in its once popular hatchback, Santro, in a new avatar in India, with introductory prices ranging between Rs 3.89-5.64 lakh (ex-showroom).

The company, which operates in the country through its wholly-owned subsidiary Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), had discontinued the previous Santro model in December 2014.

The manual variants of the car are priced between Rs 3.89-5.45 lakh. The two CNG trims are tagged at Rs 5.23 lakh and Rs 5.64 lakh while the two variants with automated gear shift are priced at Rs 5.18 lakh and Rs 5.46 lakh (all prices ex-showroom).

The introductory prices would be for the first 50,000 customers. HMIL has already received online bookings for over 23,500 units in the last 13 days.

The previous Santro was priced in the range of Rs 3.09- 4.15 lakh when it was discontinued in 2014.

The new Santro, which is powered by a four-cylinder 1.1-litre petrol engine, comes with the automated manual transmission (AMT) and factory-fitted CNG fuel options. The engine has been tuned to comply with the current emission norms, offering better fuel efficiency.

Developed on a new K1 platform, the new Santro is bigger, wider and more spacious than the previous version.

It comes with various new features including rear parking camera, voice recognition, rear AC vents and eco coating technology, among others. It also offers a touch screen audio video system, remote keyless entry and rear defogger, among others.

The car also comes with various safety features including, airbags, ABS with EBD impact sensing auto door unlock, rear parking senors, speed sensing auto door lock.

As per the company, the petrol manual and AMT versions of the hatchback would return a fuel efficiency of 20.3 km per litre while the CNG trims would cover 30.48 km per one kg.

The earlier version of the car offered a fuel efficiency of 17.9 km per litre.

"We have invested over Rs 700 crore (USD 100 million) on the development of this model over the last three years. The new Santro has been designed in our R&D centre in Namyang (South Korea) and it will help us consolidate position in the mid-compact segment," HMIL Managing Director and CEO Y K Koo told reporters here.

The new model would cater to first-time buyers as well as entry-level customers, he added.

"It is a very important model for Hyundai. We are looking at sales of around 8,000-9,000 units per month to start with," Koo said.

The all-new Santro will be competing with the likes of Maruti Suzuki's WagonR, Celerio and Tata Motors' Tiago in the mid-compact segment which is about 30,000 units a month.

While Wagon R is priced between Rs 4.15-5.39 lakh, Celerio is tagged between Rs 4.21-5.4 lakh (ex-showroom). On the other hand, petrol variants of Tiago are priced between Rs 3.39-5.63 lakh (all prices ex-showroom Delhi).

Koo said the all-new Santro is a true example of Hyundai's Made in India philosophy and a shining result of numerous product clinics and rigorous durability test on various terrains in India.

"Our R&D centre in Nanyang ( South Korea), Chennai and Hyderabad have put strong efforts for product supremacy and utmost customer delight," Koo said.

When asked about export plans for the model, Koo said the company would start overseas shipments from next year and is aiming to begin with 15,000-20,000 units per annum.

The company is eyeing markets like South Africa, Vietnam and Latin America to start exports of new Santro, he added.

The new Santro comes with a localisation level of 90 per cent.

The Santro was first rolled out from Hyundai's Chennai plant in September 1998 and the brand was the mainstay of the company in the Indian car market.

Over 18.6 lakh units of Santro have been sold globally till date. In India, the company has sold over 13 lakh units of the model.

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