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BW Businessworld

‘Hyundai Aspiring For Market Leadership’

With Hyundai India having rolled out its seven millionth car, its MD Y.K. Koo shares with BW Businessworld the company’s ambition to attain market leadership

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With Hyundai India having rolled out its seven millionth car, its MD Y.K. Koo shares with BW Businessworld’s Ashish Sinha & Arshad Khan the company’s ambition to attain market leadership.

Edited excerpts:

Hyundai has completed 20 years in India. What have been your achievements?
We are today the largest passenger car exporter. We started in 1996 with a clear mission to bring world-class, innovative and premium automobile products to the Indian consumers. And we have done that. Learning and innovation have defined Hyundai’s last two decades. Our first offering in 1998, the iconic tall-boy design Santro, powered by the MPFI engine, was a game changer and a trend setter from day one. We were the first to introduce many contemporary concepts in India, which continues till today. Hyundai was the first to introduce the MPFI and CRDi technology in India. We have also introduced the globally successful Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language to Indian customers. This has helped Hyundai adopt a modern premium brand direction and gives our automobiles a standout presence on the Indian roads. Our Grand i10, Elite i20 and, of course, Creta are proof that we have firmly entrenched ourselves in the Indian customer’s mind as an OEM offering innovative, stylish and safe, modern premium products with high quality. Hyundai has a family of more than 6.7 million customers in India. Globally, HMIL is also the third largest market for Hyundai Motor Company contributing 13 per cent to its sale.

Are you content with the tag of “second-largest carmaker of India”, a position Hyundai India has held for over 18 years?
Hyundai has always been in competition with itself. We endeavour to become the most loved and trusted car brand that can only be driven through customer satisfaction. Over 20 years, brand Hyundai has had several success stories to its credit in India. Hyundai in India is aspiring to achieve market leadership. This will be done on the strength of new products; cars like Tucson and on the strength of innovation. We will also continue to refresh the price-value equation of all our products so that Hyundai’s modern premium products are available across all price points to consumers across India. And also through the launch of new products. We are committed to introduce two new products every year in India till 2020.

What is your vision for the next 5 or 10 years?
We have set our vision under four pillars: First, to achieve market leadership with the introduction of two new advanced products every year. Second, to become the most loved and trusted brand with strong focus on customer satisfaction. Third, we aim to provide new value and experience to customer beyond their expectation. And fourth, to make a great place to work for entire Hyundai family members.

What are the steps Hyundai is taking to significantly grow its rural distribution network?
Rural markets are a key part of Hyundai’s long-term strategy as these markets are growing very fast. Hyundai’s focus is to penetrate in the rural markets. We are focusing on the rural markets beyond the top 110 cities. We will increase sales by increasing the number of rural sales outlets (RSO) which are built in tier-3 cities to achieve the maximum penetration. Currently, there are 357 RSOs.

How important is the small car market for Hyundai going forward? How important is the role of innovations in the small car segment?
Indian customers are upgrading from the entry level to more advanced, feature-rich cars that have distinctive presence on the roads. With a strong focus on both urban and rural markets, Hyundai will continue to strengthen its commitment to the Indian market with Hyundai’s 11 robust products in its portfolio.

What are the challenges of selling cars in India? Are the challenges different for urban India compared to rural India?
Aspirations vary for rural and urban customers. Rural customers connect with Eon, i10, and Grand i10 for high value and high assurance as our brands offer low cost of acquisition, low cost of ownership and a strong assurance of higher resale values. Whereas for Urban Market, Hyundai has a range of trendsetting premium products like Elite i20, Verna, the all new Elantra, Tucson and Santa Fe.

What kind of investments will be required to further expand your reach/market share/profitability over next several years?

Hyundai will continue to invest in innovation, strengthen the brand by challenging established paradigms and move forward by integrating 4 pillars of Sales, Factory, Dealers and Suppliers. Hyundai has already made investment of $3.2 billion creating production capacity of 7 lakh cars and is leading with 33 per cent export market share and 17 per cent in the passenger vehicle segment. An investment of approx. Rs 1,000 cr is made on the R&D of every product to offer the best to customer. At HMIL, we continuously improve the price value equations by refreshing all our existing models, introducing new models and targeting the existing and emerging segments while maintaining our modern premium image.