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.