'Creta will continue to be segment leader despite new competition': Tarun Garg, COO, Hyundai Motor India

Despite the proliferation of the mid-size SUV market, COO Tarun Garg of Hyundai Motor India is confident that the Creta will continue to lead in the segment in the country.

By Ketan Thakkar calendar 27 Jun 2023 Views icon22156 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
'Creta will continue to be segment leader despite new competition': Tarun Garg, COO, Hyundai Motor India

Amid the mid-size SUV frenzy, the segment leader Hyundai Creta was the Number One SUV player in the industry in May 2023.

The model was the biggest selling SUV last month, even higher than some of the mainstream sub-four metre affordable compact SUVs in the market — underscoring how the vehicle continues to rule the roost despite half a dozen alternatives available in the market place.

This new high has been achieved in its eighth year of selling and amid fresh competition coming in from India's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki with its Grand Vitara and World's largest car maker Toyota's mid-size SUV offering the Urban Cruiser Hyryder.

Despite new competition, Tarun Garg, COO of Hyundai Motor India says he is confident of Creta holding onto its leadership position in the mid-size SUV segment.

"Competition does not necessarily split the share between rivals, it can also expand the pie"  Tarun Garg, COO, Hyundai Motor India

"Being close to the customers, Hyundai understands the buyers’ latent needs and we attempt to bring in products with global technologies tuned for ever evolving Indian customers at the right price,” said Garg. In the first five months of this calendar year, Hyundai Motor India has sold over 68,000 units of Creta, registering a growth of 27 percent- which is more than double the market growth rate of 13-14 percent so far. The model is averaging a monthly volume of around 14,000 units and the Creta still has a few months of waiting, especially for the diesel trims

Sustaining with diesel despite the increase in vehicle cost to meet the new emission norms turned out to be a trump card for Hyundai. Almost 20 percent of Hyundai buyers choose diesel, in a market that has increasingly veered towards electric or petrol powertrains.

The number is higher for SUVs. About 42 percent of the Cretas are sold with the diesel powertrain and the share further goes up to 63 percent for Tucson and 72 percent for Alcazar. 

Hyundai has also been able to meet the evolving needs of buyers in terms of features. The key feature interventions of connected car technologies, sunroofs, ventilated seats, etc. has hit the sweet spot with customers.

Consider this, 47 percent of the Cretas sold come with connected features, 64 percent of vehicles sold are with sunroofs, much like diesel, the company has democratised these features, compelling the rivals to offer these as options. "We have confidence in the Indian customer that as long as you give them value in terms of global useful features, he sees convenience, he does not mind paying the right price. It is not about the high price or the low price. It is about the right price," Garg added. The South Korean car maker which rode the SUV wave over the last half decade — garners over 53 percent of its sales from SUVs.

When queried about the rising competition in the segment, Garg expressed confidence and said, "Competition does not necessarily split the share between rivals, it can also expand the pie. We have raised our benchmark from time to time and we will continue to boost the value packaging in the model and are confident of retaining the leadership in the mid-size SUV segment," he added.

While most of the rivals are entering the mid-size SUV market, Hyundai is readying itself for an entry SUV with Exter. When asked if the mid-size SUV is the new battleground, Garg says, “The SUV market per se is the main battleground. It accounted for 46 percent of the overall market in the first five months of 2023. With increased options, the SUV market will continue to grow and will get further sub-segmented. Apart from holding fort with Creta, there are many emerging opportunities about which Hyundai is excited. With the Exter, we plan to capitalise on the latest demand for SUVs.”

While Garg is non-committal on the future interventions on the Creta, Autocar Professional learns that a significant update on the Creta is likely to hit the road within a year and there is a plan to bring in an EV avatar of Creta which will further aim to keep its lead in the zero emission avatar.

Model CY'23
Connected cars number Penetration% Sunroof Penetration% Total sales volume
Venue  14,673 30.20% 19,566 40.30% 48,606
Creta  31,266 46.90% 42,839 64.20% 66,725
Alcazar  8,514 93.40% 9,112 100.00% 9,114
New Tucson  1,663 100.00% 1,663 100.00% 1,663
Total  56,116 30.4%* 73,180 42.1%* 2,35,273
*Total Penetration also includes models - i20, i20 N Line, Old Verna, New Verna, Exter, Kona EV, Venue N Line, Ioniq 5 

This feature was first published in Autocar Professional's June 15, 2023 issue.

Also read
Mid-size mania: Indian car market's new battleground 

 

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