08 May 2008

Hyundai To Launch Diesel i10 by 2008 End

Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of South Korea's Hyundai Motor Company, is planning to advance the roll out schedule in India for the diesel variant of its new small car, i10, from the earlier deadline of 2010 to end 2008 or early 2009. This will follow the launch of i20 model.

According to Heung Soo Lheem, Managing Director and CEO, HMIL, the diesel variant of i10 will be fitted with the new engine and transmission system to be manufactured at a plant which is being set up near Chennai.

Apart from the i20 and diesel variants of i10, Hyundai will also launch Santa Fe, its premium sports utility vehicle late this year. It will also launch the LPG variant of Santro and Accent during the third quarter of 2008.

"We are presently upgrading Santa Fe which is in final stages and expect to launch it by end of 2008 in the country," Lheem told reporters, here today.

He said Hyundai will import the completely built units (CBU) of Santa Fe from South Korea and sell in India. It is also studying the feasibility of launching an upgraded Sonata, a premium car, for the Indian market.

Lheem said Hyundai will develop new engines for both petrol and diesel cars to be sold in India. The i10 will sport a brand new 80 bhp all aluminium engine that will meet the stringent Euro-V emissions norms. This year Hyundai is targeting a total sales of 580,000 cars, of which 420,000 will be small cars. While, the share of Santro is pegged at 140,000 units, the balance will be i10 and i20 models.

As of April 2008, Hyundai has received an export order for 75,000 i10 from 95 countries across the world, he said. Since its launch in November 2007, i10 sales have crossed the 55,000 mark in India.

Lheem said Hyundai, which recently increased its manufacturing capacity in India to 600,000 cars per annum, is looking at further increasing it to 1 million units by 2015.

Currently, Hyundai India contributes 15 per cent of the company's global capacity. With the completion of engine and transmission plant, Hyundai's total investment in India will touch Rs 10,000 crore, he said.

The company, apart from expansion and production capacity, plans to expand its dealer network, which will be increased from 230 to 300 this year, of which 72 will be in south India.

[Source: Business-standard]

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