2014 will remain challenging for Indian auto market: Hyundai

Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) expects the current year to remain challenging for the Indian auto sector as buyer sentiment remains subdued.

"2013 was a challenging year for the Indian auto sector and we believe 2014 will also be the same. The footfalls at outlets is not converting into sales," HMIL Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Rakesh Srivastava told PTI.

Annual car sales in India declined for the first time in 11 years in 2013, posting a 9.59 per cent dip, as the auto industry reeled under a prolonged demand slump due to economic slowdown.

Even for the month of January, car makers including HMIL, Maruti Suzuki India, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Tata Motors reported decline in domestic sales.

Srivastava said the company is undertaking various initiatives to boost sales.

"We are focussing on increasing our rural penetration and also looking at expanding corporate sales. Both segments contribute about 18 per cent to our revenues and have the potential to grow further," he said.

As part of its efforts to boost sales and increase market share, HMIL today launched its new generation sports utility vehicle Sante Fe, priced between Rs 26.3 lakh and Rs 29.2 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

The vehicle, which is powered by a 2.2 litre engine would come in three variants, priced at Rs 26.3 lakh, Rs 27.1 lakh and Rs 29.2 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), respectively.

HMIL is the second largest car maker in the country, after Maruti Suzuki.

Yesterday, the South Korean firm had unveiled "Xcent", its first compact sedan in India, which will be available from next month onwards.

Compact sedans and compact SUVs are fast growing segments in the estimated 2.7 million Indian passenger car market.

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