SS Kim, MD and CEO of Hyundai Motor India, has reiterated that his company and Kia will remain keen rivals in the Indian market.
“Globally Hyundai and Kia are competitors — similarly we will compete with each other in India as well,” he told Autocar Professional in a recent email interview. Both the Korean brands are part of the Hyundai Motor Group but have steered clear of each other at a time when alliances are the name of the game in the automobile industry.
Be it Toyota-Suzuki, Renault-Nissan, Skoda-Volkswagen or the more recently formed entity Stellantis (created by the merger of Groupe PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), every carmaker is looking at partnerships to take on challenges in an era marked by mobility disruptions.
Kim, however, added that in order to “meet customer values and cost of ownership while looking at Government policies and structural changes”, Hyundai and Kia “might share supply chain operations like vendors, powertrain sharing and technology sharing”. However, all other operations “are separate as per our brand ethos”.
Hyundai has been around in India for over 25 years and has emerged as Maruti Suzuki’s fiercest rival. Kia, in contrast, is a recent entrant but has made its intentions known with successful products like the Seltos and Sonet. Between the two of them, they have a sizable share of the Indian SUV market even while remaining fierce rivals.
Kim said Hyundai has charted a “strong roadmap for the future” where the focus will remain on introducing new products, technologies, experiences and building social values “by engaging communities while strongly focusing on the human side of enterprise”. He added that the company would continue to drive excellence across the spectrum of its operations and “induce excitement” for its customers.
Additionally, it is betting big on electric and believes that it holds “adequate synergies” to develop EVs for India. “We continue to evaluate market opportunities from time to time and will introduce products depending on favourable factors prevalent during these times,” said Kim.
Hyundai would also continue to develop innovative solutions and remain “much ahead of the industry” by introducing new fuel technologies and powertrain options. “We have already initiated the feasibility study for fuel cell electric vehicles in India and promise to bring the ultimate solution with zero emission mobility,” he said.
With the second wave of Covid still underway and threats of a third now imminent, Hyundai has been conducting operations with “cautious optimism”. Kim said the domestic market is seeing significant demand with customers opting for personal mobility. “We are also focused on development of advanced technologies and products that will usher in a brighter and greener future,” he added.