Hyundai Motor India (HMIL), which launched the new Xcent sedan today in New Delhi, is to begin exports of the car almost immediately. The carmaker had first revealed the car at the Auto Expo in early February.
Speaking to Autocar Professional, CH Han, senior executive director (sales and marketing), HMIL, said that though Hyundai has 120 export markets currently on its radar, it is looking initially at Africa, Asia and Latin America for shipping the sedan.
The export programme will start with the petrol Xcent being shipped to Africa and Latin America, followed by the diesel variants to some Asian countries. The model configuration will vary as per the regulations and specifications of each country.
The Xcent is available in three variants – Base, S and SX – and in six colours. The Base trim is priced at Rs 4.66 lakh for the petrol, while the diesel costs Rs 5.56 lakh. The S petrol costs Rs 5.32 lakh, and the S (O) petrol is priced at Rs 5.57 lakh, while the S diesel costs Rs 6.23 lakh and the S (O) diesel is priced at Rs 6.98 lakh. The top SX variant costs Rs 6.22 lakh for the petrol and Rs 7.13 lakh for the SX diesel, while the SX (O) variant costs Rs 6.47 lakh for the petrol and Rs 7.38 lakh for the diesel. The 1.2-litre petrol automatic variant is priced at Rs 6.28 lakh for the S (O) variant and Rs 7.19 lakh for the SX (O). However, these are introductory prices and subject to change at any time.
HMIL is positioning this sub-4-metre sedan in the low midsize sedan segment pegged at 24,000 units annually. The Hyundai Xcent sedan uses the same 1.1-litre diesel and 1.2-litre petrol engines as the Grand i10. These engines are mated to five-speed manual transmissions as standard, though the petrol car gets an optional four-speed automatic too.
Engineers at Hyundai’s R&D centre in Hyderabad and at Namyang, Korea, have collaborated to develop the Xcent right from concept stage through to the final product development stage. HMIL has 500 engineers at its Hyderabad R&D centre.
“The low midsize segment will grow and propel growth for Hyundai. We start bookings from today,” said Rakesh Srivastava, senior VP (sales and marketing). Key competitors to the Xcent in the segment comprise the Maruti Dzire, Honda Amaze and Toyota Etios.
INTERVIEW: CH HAN, SENIOR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (SALES & MARKETING), HMIL
Do you think the Xcent sedan will cannibalise sales of the Verna which is also in the A3 segment?
This is the midsize segment sedan and a new segment for us. The Verna is in a different segment, so we are not thinking about cannibalisation.
What kind of sales volumes are you expecting for the Xcent?
It will depend on the market but I think we can get as many numbers as our competitors.
What do you estimate will be the bookings for the trim levels?
We expect 50:50 in terms of petrol and diesel because nowadays diesel is not doing so well.
How many sales is the Grand i10 averaging and what is the car’s current waiting period?
We have sold 62,000 units since its launch. It is averaging sales of 10,000 units (a month) which has brought down its waiting period to just 1-2 weeks. We are continuously increasing production for the Grand i10.
Maruti recently launched its Celerio with an AMT that contributes almost 50 percent of total bookings. What kind of response do you expect for the Xcent’s AT option?
Here the automatic transmission is totally different from the AMT that is just a manual transmission with an automatic shift up. The mechanism is totally different and a new mechanism in the Indian market. In our case, the AMT was considered a long time ago. Now we have only fully automatics, and this is the conventional automatic.
When do you think you will need to look at a third manufacturing facility?
It depends on the market. We are always ready to set up our new production base. For us, it will take only a very short time for establishing the new setup. In our current facilities at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, we have used the full capacity of almost 670,000 units per annum.
Which new models will we see during the year?
We are the only brand that is continuously introducing new models. Last year we launched the Elantra and the Grand i10; this year it will be the new Sante Fe and Xcent. Every year, we will launch one or two models for the Indian market
What is HMIL’s sales target for CY 2014?
For the domestic market we are targeting 430,000 units and about 240,000 units in exports.