While the Hyundai Grand i10 won the most coveted prize in the Indian automobile industry—the Indian Car of Year (ICOTY) award 2014—the newly launched Hyundai Xcent has moved to the second position in its segment within a month of its introduction. “The Xcent has shaken up the Indian small sedan segment,” says Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice-president, marketing & sales, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL). In an interaction with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary, he shares that above the i20, there is room for a very premium hatchback. He also tells us that the company’s objective is to be the most loved brand in India. Excerpts:
You have planted the 1.0-litre engine in the Eon, which earlier came only with the 0.8-litre engine. Does the Eon really needs a more powerful motor?
We believe in graduating our customers over time. The Eon was launched with the 0.8-litre Epsilon engine, and now it also gets the 1.0-litre Kappa engine option for people who want a more powerful Eon. The Kappa motor primarily powered the i10 and was being made at 100% capacity utilisation. As we added new models to our line-up that were to use the Kappa engines, we had to simultaneously enhance the engine’s production capacity. We also found that there were customers who liked the design of the Eon but wanted a more powerful variant of the car. So, the minute we got more Kappa engines, we planted some of them in the Eon. We gave the customers what they wanted.
Do you believe the new Xcent can match up to the success of the Grand i10, the car the Xcent itself is based on?
The Grand i10 is a phenomenal success. It won the ICOTY 2014 award. Then, in its first full month of production, it broke into the top five best-selling models in India. We have learnt that as we launch a successful product, our channel gains more confidence and the channel interaction with the customers improves. That results in better feedback from the customers—what they love, what they don’t, etc. This helps us, as a company, in designing a new product; in this case, the Xcent. If the Grand i10 was a benchmark that we set, the Xcent, we hope, will be a bigger success than the Grand i10. (Here I must add that when we gave the product briefing to our R&D team, we said that we need a very desirable car