Hyundai Motor India guns for 6 million production milestone, launches i20 Active

by Shobha Mathur 17 Mar 2015

HMIL's MD and CEO, B S Seo and Rakesh Srivastava, senior VP (sales and marketing), at the launch.

Hyundai Motor India has embarked on its next chapter of growth. The carmaker today had the global launch of its i20 Active, which is the ‘cross’ version of the standard i20 hatchback, in New Delhi. The petrol models are priced at Rs 6.38 lakh for the basic 1.2 litre model while the 1.2 S comes for Rs 7.09 lakh. The diesel variants cost Rs 7.76 lakh for the 1.4, Rs 8.34 lakh for the 1.4S and Rs 8.89 lakh for the 1.4SX (all introductory prices, ex-showroom Delhi).

Typical of crossovers, the i20 Active gets cosmetic changes for a more standout, rugged appearance that the regular i20. The primarily cosmetic changes include matte grey cladding around the base of the car, faux skid plates, roof rails and newly designed alloys. Changes on the outside include new front and rear bumpers with round fog lamps, tweaked grille, projector headlamps with daytime-running lights and cornering lights, new fuel filler lid and glossy black C-pillar.

On the inside, the i20 Active continues with the well-appointed cabin of the standard hatchback, but with a new colour combination. Models with lighter exterior paint shades, get blue and black two-tone upholstery, while those with darker exterior colours, get an all-black cabin with certain accents finished in orange, including the gear lever.

Mechanically, Hyundai has increased the ground clearance by 20mm, to 190mm for the i20 Active. It retains the engines and the gearboxes from the hatchback. The petrol model uses an 82bhp 1.2-litre unit mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, while the diesel variant gets the 89bhp 1.4-litre unit mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Hyundai says that it has reworked the gearing in the i20 Active – both the petrol and the diesel versions – for better bottom-end responses.

Eyeing new production milestone
In the past 18 months, Hyundai has rolled out six new models including the new Sante Fe, Elite i20, Grand i10, new Verna and Xcent. Now with the i20 Active hitting the market, the carmaker is gunning for a production milestone of 6 million units (60 lakh units) from its two Chennai plants in CY 2015, around two decades after it began manufacturing operations in India. The carmaker had crossed the 5 million units (50 lakh units) landmark in October 2013. The 6 million target comprises a cumulative 2 million units for exports and 4 million in domestic market sales.

The company’s market share has grown to 17.2 percent in the current calendar year from 16.2 percent last year, according to HMIL officials.

Speaking at the launch today, B S Seo, MD and CEO of HMIL, said: “The i20 Active will be a trendsetter model reflecting Hyundai’s modern premium brand direction and will propel Hyundai’s growth in India. Designed with a vision of creating cutting-edge driving innovations and delivering outstanding comfort features, the i20 Active will appeal to young consumers in India.” The company has pitched the i20 Active in the emerging sports sub-segment which sells about 1,000 units per month but has a strong growth forecast.

Rakesh Srivastava, senior VP (sales and marketing), said the Elite i20 which was launched about seven months ago has attracted 468,000 enquiries with about 103,960 bookings and has a waiting period of about two-and-a-half to three months. “This is the fastest booking by any manufacturer,” he added. “We have wholesaled 70,019 vehicles with about 30,000 orders pending.”

Hyundai is planning to further increase the capacity of its production lines to accommodate the new i20 Active. While agreeing that falling fuel prices had shifted focus back to petrol-engined vehicles, for the Active, Srivastava said Hyundai is expecting a 50:50 demand for both petrol and diesel variants. The i20 Active will be exported to Latin America, Africa, Asia and Middle East. 

“Last year while the industry grew around 3 percent, we grew by 8 percent. This year while the industry grows at 7-8 percent, Hyundai will grow at 13 percent,” summed up Srivastava about the outlook for the year.

HMIL plans to introduce new models gradually with the iX25 compact SUV on the horizon around August-September this year.

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Hyundai to ramp up i20 production capacity

Find out how and why Hyundai plans to grow the i20 Active segment in India