Hyundai nears 25 years of success in India — here’s how this carmaker crossed the 9 million-mark, beating peers like Mahindra and Tata Motors
Hyundaiholds the second-largest share of the pie in India after Maruti Suzuki.
- The market which was then dominated by popular automobile manufacturers — Maruti, Hindustan Motors, Premier Automobiles — was a tough one to crack for a company which was unknown to almost every Indian.
- However, to give a tough competition, the carmaker came up with a different strategy. It introduced cars with extra comfort and more features.
- In 1998, Hyundai made their first move with the Hyundai Santro. This car instantly won hearts with its unique tall boy design and spacious interiors.
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The market which was dominated by the top three major automobile manufacturers in early 90s — Maruti, Hindustan, Premier — was a tough one to penetrate for a company which was unknown to every Indian. The journey began in 1996, and Hyundai launched its first car Hyundai Santro in 1998. The Korean giant gained immense popularity in Indian market, making it the second-largest automobile manufacturer in India, within a few months of its inception.
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And, since then the company has maintained the second-largest share of the pie in India after Maruti Suzuki. Hyundai holds a 17% market share as of January 2021, in India, as per Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations of India. It is also the largest car exporter in the country. Hyundai through Indian subsidiary exports to more than 88 countries across Africa, Middle-East, Latin America, Australia and the Asia-Pacific.
What worked for Hyundai in India
Hyundai knew it couldn’t beat Maruti in terms of price, so it adopted a different strategy. The company came in with a car with extra comfort and more features. The strategy still holds strong 20 years later and Hyundai is a household name today.
From Multi Point Fuel Injection (MFPI) based Santro replacing Maruti’s 800 model in the early days to launching SUVs and EVs such as Creta and Kona — the company has revolutionised the Indian auto sector. Hyundai has invested over $4 billion in India, so far.
While Maruti’s monopoly with stranglehold in the car market has been here for several decades now, Hyundai quest to be the most trusted brand in India with a major fan following. From entry-level cars to SUVs, the company’s strong grip on the Indian passenger vehicle market prevails.
Here’s a timeline of events that changed Hyundai’s destiny in India.
- In 1996 the company laid its foundation stone at Irungattukottai in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
- In 1998, Hyundai made their first move with the Hyundai Santro, also known as the Atoz in international markets. This car instantly won hearts with its unique tall boy design and spacious interiors.
- After Santro, the company launched its sedan Hyundai Accent in 1999. Despite the sedan market being at a nascent stage in India, it was only a matter of time that the car gained immense popularity among the younger generation.
- The company then tapped the premium sedan segment with its Hyundai Sonata. The car did manage to get a lot of eyeballs due to its similar resemblance to Jaguar models. Adding to it, Sonata Gold was one of the most luxurious cars on sale in India at the time of its launch.
- However, things changed for Hyundai dramatically with the introduction of its new family design philosophy, which it named the Fluidic Design Philosophy. Hyundai’s design identity is based on the brand’s philosophy to embrace harmony with nature. Over the years, Hyundai has tweaked this philosophy to keep design universally appealing and progressive.
- The company achieved five-lakh exports in 2008 and over the next 12 years, 25 million more units were shipped abroad from its plant that has a capacity of producing 7.5-lakh units annually.
- The i20 was the best-selling car in its segment for many years until the Maruti’s Baleno came into the picture.
- The company also holds many firsts in the Indian market, such as the Kona Electric being the first zero-emission SUV.
- In December 2020, Hyundai recorded its highest production output in a single month of 71,000 units, the company said.
- Over the past few years, the company has been strengthening its portfolio with the addition of new hatchbacks and SUVs such as Grand i10 Nios, Creta, i20, that is helping in posting strong sales volumes.
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