Bullish-on-diesel Hyundai launches 2020 Creta at Rs 999,000

by Mayank Dhingra 16 Mar 2020


Hyundai Motor India today announced prices of its all-new Creta midsized SUV and launched the vehicle in New Delhi. The second-generation Creta is priced between Rs 999,000 for the base diesel variant to Rs 1,720,000 ex-showroom, India, for the top-end diesel, with a total of 14 variants and the crossover coming in 10 colour options.

The Creta, which was launched in June 2015, has gone on to become a bestseller for the company. It has sold a total of 466,839 units till end of January 2020 in the domestic market with another 193,000 units being exported to South America, Middle-East and the African countries.

According to S S Kim, MD and CEO, Hyundai Motor India, "The Creta has become the aspirational car of choice. Over the last five years, we have sold 467,000 units in the domestic market and a total of 193,000 units exports. 2020 will be a crucial year for the Indian auto industry with new safety and emissions norms. It will change the dynamics and perspective of made-in-India."

New Creta exports to begin soon
The company says that the new Creta is a global model and investments into the India project have been over Rs 1,000 crore and that the initial market response is overwhelming. The UV has received over 14,000 bookings since the company opened them online on March 3. It has high hopes riding on the model, and expects the Creta to regain the crown it lost to cousin Kia Seltos, due to its well-loaded package and aggressive pricing strategy. The company also plans to commence exports of the new Creta in the next two months.

"The new Creta is much better than before in terms of performance, connectivity and service. So, our expectation is that it will be greatly welcomed by the customers," added Kim.

Modern in every aspect
Based on a new platform, which is lighter yet stronger owing to the use of up to 75 percent of Advanced High Strength Steel and High Strength Steel, the new Creta has evolved in styling and looks much more modern with its attributes such as triple-part front LED DRLs, an all-LED headlamp cluster integrated into the bumper and a massive Hyundai-signature cascade grille.

The side profile sees silver plastic embellishments running on the top part of the window line to give a contrast touch to the paint and new machined-cut 17-inch alloy wheels. The rear-end too gets a split LED tail-lamp cluster. The talking point on the outside is also the new panoramic sunroof that comes with voice-command activation for ease of usage while driving.

On the inside, the Creta gets a beige theme and an all-black cabin on the turbo-petrol with niceties such as a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Hyundai's BlueLink connectivity death, a 7-inch information display in the driver's instrument binnacle on the top-end variant, cooled front seats and an 8-speaker Bose sound system. While the company has improved cabin space and features, rear seats now also get a reclining function to enhance occupant comfort.

Cleaner BS VI diesel
Just like its cousin Kia Seltos, Hyundai has also announced three BS VI-compliant engine options on the new Creta, beginning with a 1.5-litre 113bhp petrol, 1.5-litre 113bhp diesel and a 1.4-litre 139bhp turbocharged petrol. There's an option of a 6-speed manual or a CVT and a torque-converter automatic with the petrol and diesel, respectively, while the turbocharged petrol is only available with a 7-speed DCT gearbox combination.

While the outgoing model saw 324,377 units being sold in diesel and only 142,462 units in its petrol guise - a dramatic 70:30 bias towards diesel - Hyundai is optimistic of a similar response with the new Creta as well.

Out of the 14,000 bookings received so far, the company claims that almost 50 percent are for the diesel and that the demand is equally distributed across the country. "Hyundai is very proud of our BS VI diesel engine technology, which is 25 percent more fuel efficient compared to petrol and quite low on emissions too. We strongly believe customers will welcome it and enjoy its benefits," said Kim.

In terms of safety, the car comes equipped with six airbags in the top-trim, ESC, hill-start assist, ABS with EBD and disc brakes on all four wheels.

Seeing the unique usage pattern of customers in India, Hyundai Motor India has also enlarged the scope of its 'Wonder Warranty' which was introduced last year with the Grand i10 Nios to the Creta now. A customer could either avail the standard 3-year unlimited kilometre warranty package or opt for the customised 4-year, 60,000km or up to 5-year, 50,000km options.

Coronavirus outbreak an opportunity for India
While Hyundai Motor India has not yet felt any impact yet of the global outbreak of the Coronavirus on its operations, the company believes it to be a great opportunity for India.

Hyundai Motor India's SS Kim: "I strongly believe that it is a great opportunity for Indian industry in terms of producing some sub-parts and materials for the manufacturing sector."

According to Kim, "As on date, we have not had a direct impact on our operations -- production or sales. But we have been closely monitoring the situation of our vendors and a few of the global Tier 1 players have a very globalised sourcing structure and they might have some Tier 2 vendors based in China. So, they have had some impact but we  have been able to manage the situation very well until now."

The Creta is around 90 percent localised; while most of the major parts are being made in India, "a few electronic components are being imported from some countries but we will localise some of them to have a higher localisation ratio in the coming years," Kim remarked.

"In case of some imported parts, if one heavily relies on a single-vendor sourcing, it can become a very risky situation. We will make sure that our operations remain consistent and stable. We will look at how we can improve our systems in terms of vendor management.

"I strongly believe that it is a great opportunity for Indian industry in terms of producing some sub-parts and materials for the manufacturing sector. I believe that the government will take some measures. It's a great opportunity and the right time for India to start some initiative in this regard," pointed out Kim.

Click-to-buy amidst Coronavirus pandemic
In a proactive response to the Coronavirus, Hyundai Motor India is deploying stringent cleanliness measures at its dealerships and taking steps to avoid the spread of the disease- causing virus by offering its entire sales process online by the virtue of its new 'Click-to-Buy' digital system. The company says customers will be able to book, negotiate, finance and take delivery of their Hyundai vehicles whilst being in the confines of their homes through this comprehensive model. While the project is currently in a beta-testing phase in Delhi-NCR, Hyundai Motor India aims a nationwide roll out within the next two weeks.

According to Tarun Garg, director, Sales, Marketing and Service, Hyundai Motor India, "The online platform will be extremely helpful for the operations of dealers. The Click-to-Buy initiative will not have any impact on our plans to expand our dealer network in the country. Going forward, both digital and brick-and-mortar will play a crucial role in sales and marketing for us."

Giving an update on the company's BS IV inventory, Garg added, "The factory stock was cleared-off in the first week of February itself; now the network stock is only about a few vehicles with a few dealers. It will be a smooth transition for us."

Commenting on the current market dynamics, Garg further said, "Definitely we have to be optimistic. We are in the third month of the year and we have started to create some excitement in the market with our launches. Our expectation is that we should be able to see some growth from H2, but we have an outlook of low single-digit growth by the end of the next fiscal year."

So, with a strategy akin to its sibling Kia Motors India, will Hyundai Motor India also look to grab a fair share of the UV segment by creating an in-house competition? While the new Creta's pricing declares just that, it's the consumer who has had the last laugh. And it's sure to have got rivals worried.

Also read: Can India position itself as a component production alternative to China?

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