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Sayonara SUVs, the compact sedan is Hyundai’s new favourite segment in India

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South Korean auto major, Hyundai, could begin looking beyond its well-known SUV obsession in the Indian market. In the company’s crosshairs now, is a newfound market for the compact sedan. That much was apparent at Hyundai Motor India’s gala preview of its all-new offering in the compact sedan — the Hyundai Aura.

Sayonara SUVs, the compact sedan is Hyundai’s new favourite segment in India
South Korean auto major, Hyundai, could begin looking beyond its well-known SUV obsession in the Indian market. In the company’s crosshairs now, is a newfound market for the compact sedan. That much was apparent at Hyundai Motor India’s gala preview of its all-new offering in the compact sedan — the Hyundai Aura.
“The SUV segment has been doing well for Hyundai in terms of growth, but there is a market for sub-four-metre sedans in terms of volume,” said Hyundai’s newly appointed director for sales and marketing, Tarun Garg, speaking to CNBC-TV18 at the preview. “The fact remains that SUV will see maximum growth and Hyundai will continue providing offerings in that segment,” Garg added, “But considering Indian roads and GST structures, the compact segment cannot be ignored.”
When Hyundai Motor India completed 20 years of its India story back in 2016, the company’s then managing director, YK Koo, told CNBC-TV18 that his company’s immediate focus would be on the SUV and Compact SUV segments. Walking the talk, the company went on to launch the Hyundai Creta, Hyundai Kona Electric and Hyundai Venue in the three years that followed. The Creta and Venue would go on to register healthy sales numbers, with the latter managing to sell over 51,000 units in the sixth months that followed its launch in May.
On Thursday, however, when Hyundai proudly displayed the first of its Auras — a crimson red one — for the cameras, the company’s message was clear: the compact space was up for grabs and it isn’t backing down. If the automaker’s first offering is anything to go by, Hyundai seems to have gone all-in: a sporty design aided by the coupe-like look of the car from the side view, solid wheel arches and the R15 diamond-cut-type alloy wheels and premium satin front grilles.
“The Aura has several first-in-class features like the one-litre turbo petrol engine, and the wireless charger,” said Garg. While the company isn’t close to disclosing pricing, Garg said it would be “accepted in the market like all of Hyundai’s previous offerings.”
For Hyundai, the launch couldn’t have come at a better time. After contending with a six-month lull in terms of sales — as have most other auto majors — the company’s domestic sales saw a 2 percent year-on-year rise in November. The company feels sunny sales days could be back by mid-2020.
“The BS-6 introduction in April will see customers take some time to get used to prices,” said Garg, “We hope that the second half of 2020 see signs of revival in the automobile market.”
Hyundai’s market share stands at 19.8 percent, registering a 1.7 percent rise in 2019, despite the gloom that plagued most of 2019 in the automobile market. The Venue, Kona Electric, and the all-new Santro stood out as the company’s big launches this year.
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