With an absolutely aggressive pricing strategy for its first-ever compact SUV, the Venue, Hyundai has surprised the Indian market by positioning the global model squarely with Tata Motors' Nexon, which retails at Rs 649,000 ex-showroom, for its base petrol variant. The Venue E-MT 1.2 petrol is priced at Rs 650,000.
While the diesel 1.4-litre Venue at Rs 775,000 is Rs 7,000 dearer than the segment leader Maruti Vitara Brezza, the catch is that the popular Maruti and the UV market leader only has a limited run with the Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre diesel engine, which will be discontinued come April 2020.
The Venue with the 1.4-litre diesel has drawn 5,250 bookings till now.
Hyundai, on the other hand, made it categorically clear that diesel is here to stay and it will continue to bring new engines into the Indian market. Speaking at the Hyundai Venue launch in New Delhi today, Albert Biermann, president, head of R&D, Hyundai Motor Company, said, "We have clean, efficient and powerful diesel engines available in Korea and we will continue bringing diesel engines to India, meeting BS VI emission norms."
The company has thus far received 15,000 bookings for the Venue and while 65 percent contribution comes from petrol, with a sizeable number for the turbo-petrol AT combination, 5,250 bookings also comprise diesel, giving a hint of the prevalent demand still in the market.
Road to sustainability, eco cars by 2025
Hyundai says that it is investing into various partnerships for the future and that it aims to transition into a mobility solutions provider. "We are developing open vehicle manufacturing architectures to create the best mobility solutions and also improve the quality and safety of our vehicles for a future of shared mobility," said Biermann.
"We are streamlining global innovations and anticipating future opportunities early on. From just vehicles, we are going to go into green and connected mobility and offer freedom to customers, he added.
Biermann further added that the Group is looking at clean and sustainable mobility solutions in the future and that it aims to introduce 44 'Eco' models by 2025, including hybrids, fuel-cell vehicles and BEVs. Interestingly, Hyundai is the first company to be offering a second-generation fuel-cell solution for commercial vehicle application in Korea.
In India, Hyundai is gearing up to introduce its Kona EV in the second half of this year and is already looking into manpower training at its showrooms and service centres, also taking into account the low maintenance requirement with electric vehicle technology.
The company is also thinking big on CNG and while the Santro is the first model available for private buyers to get a factory-fitted CNG kit from the company, sources tell us that the company will be eyeing CNG in the upcoming second-generation Grand i10 (expected to launch in July) as well and will have a quick-filling NGV receptacle near the petrol filler, like in the new Santro CNG. The current Grand i10, however, is offered with a CNG variant for private users too, but only gets an off-line fitment at the factory, thus, getting a low-pressure filler nozzle under the hood.
Digital service experience with Venue
With the Venue, Hyundai also aims to completely digitalise service with the customers going to have a 360-degree digital experience, right from service notification, to job card initiation, payment, delivery and post-service feedback. The car's much-touted Blue Link connectivity suite, which comes with an embedded SIM card from Vodafone-Idea is also sufficient to prompt service notifications at the driver, including the kind of part replacement required basis the mileage covered by the car. Hyundai has trained over 1,000 sales staffers across its 494 showrooms; they will be the 'Blue Link Wizards' and will visit the customer doorstep in the initial month of ownership to explain and recap all the features of the system. Hyundai believes this will ensure usage of these connectivity features and customers would not see them as only novelty features.
The company has also trained over 9,000 service 'consultants' across its 1,319 authorised service stations, who will be giving a recap of the Blue Link suite to customers at the first service of the car, which means that 'service advisors' are going to become 'consultants' as cars increasingly get more electronic and digital.
Capacity, localisation, and more growth
While the company's plant in Chennai is running at full steam, Hyundai says that it is amply geared to accommodate the Venue's demand as it ramped up capacity to 750,000 units earlier this year, which will suffice for the anticipated demand from the highly attractive proposition that it launched first in India today. "We will hold on to the introductory prices until we are clear of the demand and there is stability in the political environment of the country. Price revision will be determined by market forces at a later date," commented Vikas Jain, assistant vice-president and national sales head, Hyundai Motor India.
The Venue is 90 percent localised with the DCT and some electronics coming in straight from Korean. The Blue Link system is being manufactured locally by a Korean vendor situated in the plant's vicinity in Chennai.
Hyundai Motor India eyes significant growth in its UV market share with the new Venue and even though the car is feature-packed and loaded to the gills like the Creta, which sits a little higher, Hyundai believes that product differentiation will remain.
"Both Creta and Venue are two different products with different dimensions, engine size and cater to totally different customer profiles. We only see the Venue adding to our existing UV volumes," said Vikas Jain.
Will the just-launched Venue enter the Top 5 UV sales chart this month and beyond? Will the Venue expand the market or eat into rivals’ market share or do a bit of both? Stay tuned to AutocarPro.
Also read: Hyundai eyes top spot in India's compact SUV market