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Hyundai gears up to drive in hybrid models to India by 2018

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-03-2017 PTI

New Delhi: South Korean car major Hyundai is looking for a big play in the hybrid vehicle segment in India with plans to introduce its model Ioniq in 2018, besides unveiling mild-hybrids in its compact cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

With pollution becoming a major issue in India, Hyundai, which is present through a 100% arm Hyundai Motor India Ltd here, plans to explore alternative fuel technologies and avail of benefit from government incentives for such vehicles.

"We are planning to launch Ioniq hybrid in 2018 during the Auto Expo," HMIL managing director and CEO Y.K. Koo told PTI. The Ioniq will be imported as completely knocked-down unit and assembled in India. It will compete with the likes of Toyota Prius, which is priced at Rs38.96 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Elaborating on the company's future plans on hybrid vehicles in India, he said: "Next May, we can introduce mild hybrid in compact and SUV segments." Explaining the rationale behind the step, Koo said for such volume segment vehicles, introducing full-range hybrids will be very expensive. On the other hand, with government extending benefits even to mild hybrid vehicles, it made sense to introduce the technology in such segments, he explained.

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In its bid to promote clean fuel vehicles, currently the government levies excise duty of 12.5% on hybrid vehicles, which is similar to small cars. For conventional bigger cars and SUVs, it ranges from 24-30%. At present, HMIL doesn't have a hybrid vehicle in its portfolio in India.

Between 2017 and 2020, HMIL plans to introduce a total of eight products out of which three will be completely fresh models while the rest will be new versions of existing ones. The company's much awaited sub-four metre compact SUV is slated for launch in India in 2019 while in the second half of the next year, it will introduce a "family-oriented, bigger and wider product" that will be positioned above entry-level model Eon, Koo said.

Bullish on the Indian market, he said HMIL is looking to increase its contribution to the overall sales of parent Hyundai Motor Co to 14% by 2020. Last year, this was at 13.6%. On sales growth, Koo said the industry is expected to grow around 5-7% and HMIL would also look to keep pace with it.

With taxi aggregators changing the game in the auto industry, from April, HMIL will introduce 'Prime' range for hatchback Grandi10 and compact sedan Xcent to take care of the fleet segment and differentiate it from personal usage category of the models.

Vehicles under the new range will have less features compared to the original models. "We are looking at our institutional sales to contribute around 25% to our total sales, up from current 19-20% by 2018," Koo said.

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