Hyundai premieres all new SANTRO

Hyundai, the South Kor­e­a­n car gi­a­n­t, on Tu­e­s­d­ay ­in­t­r­od­u­ced the mu­­ch ­aw­ai­ted all new Sa­ntro, the co­m­pact hatchba­ck, to take on Mar­uti Su­z­uki an­­d others in a fiercely co­m­pe­titive world’s fifth and Asia’s third biggest car market.

With an introductory pri­ce tag starting with Rs 3.90 lakh for the base trim Santro D-Lite and Rs 5.47 lakh for the top Santro Sp­ortz at pan India showro­om, the new mo­­d­­el will take on rivals su­ch as Maruti Su­zuki Wagon R, Maruti Suz­uki Celerio and Tata Motors Tiago.

Hyundai, India’s second largest car maker, targeting to sell between 8,000 – 10,000 units per month, is ambitious to gain 30 per ce­nt market share in the 30,000 unit a month in the compact car segment. One wi­ll have to wait and watch how new Santro will disr­u­pt the existing market as the popular Maruti Suzuki Wag­on R alone accounts for half of that number at present.

Dubbed as the family car, new Santro comes in six tri­ms such as Santro D-Lite, Era, Magna, Sportz and As­ta. The Santro Magna and Sp­ortz trims come with in-house developed smart au­tomatic manual transmission, a first in this segment. The new Santro is also available with factory fitted CNG Magna and Sportz pri­ced at Rs 5.24 lakh and Rs 5.65 lakh respectively. The comp­a­­n­y boasted of delivering 20.3 kmpl for the petrol version and 30.48 km/kg for CNG version.

With the new Santro, the Hyundai brand now has a formidable line-up of pro­ducts to increase its market share. The Santro is positi­oned between the entry level Hyundai Eon and the Hyu­ndai Grand i10. The company has invested $100 millions or Rs 6,500 crore to develop Santro group up over the last three years.

“The legend and the king of the roads is back,” YK Koo, managing director and CEO at Hyundai Motor India told Financial Chronicle. “All new Santro will be the king of the roads in India once again and a game cha­nger and a bench mark pro­duct in the Indian auto industry,” he said, adding that more than 23,500 pre-lau­nch bookings were confir­med within 12 days. Out of these 85 per cent had opted for automatic car, he also ad­ded that it had a great potential for growth in the country.

The company had ope­ned only online pre-launch bookings with a down payment of Rs 11,100 between October 11-22. “Within thr­ee months, all the prelau­n­c­h­ bookings will be clea­red,” Vikas Jain, assistant vice pre­s­ident, national sales head at Hyundai Motor India, said.

Launched in 1998, San­t­r­o created history selling 13.2 lakh units in India and 5 lakh units in overseas markets before it was phased out in 2014. “The all new Santro is based on the six pillars: modern stylish tallboy des­i­g­n, comfortable and premium cabin, new age technology, cu­stomer centric safety, all round performance and co­m­plete peace of mind to bec­o­me a benchmark in auto industry,” Koo boasted.

After an eventful 20 years in India, Hyundai’s decision to re-introduce Santro brand is considered a crucial atte­m­pt to by the auto maker to re­­c­over its market share it ha­d lost to rivals in growi­ng sm­all car segment, espec­ia­l­ly Maruti Suzuki which rules the roads, selling one car out of two bought in the country.

The all-new Santro is po­w­ered by a 4-cylinder 1.1 lit­re petrol engine, producing a peak power of 69 PS. Mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, the car also gets an automatic transmission option with the AMT gearbox.

The new Santro features 7-inch touchscreen infotainm­ent system with Apple Ca­r­Play and Android Auto co­m­­patibility. It is also th­­e first in the segment in the count­r­y to sport rear AC vents. ABS and airbags will co­m­e standard across all variants. Reverse parking sensors are made available on all trims while the top-end variants also receive a rear parking camera.

Michael Gonsalves