This week in Auto: Hyundai#39;s silver jubilee in India; Renault Kiger launch; Hero MotoCorp capex plans; and more


Here is a wrap of all the important news in the automotive space this last week

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Apart from a couple of new model launches, the week also saw a thriving automotive company completing 25 years in India. Hyundai has managed to strengthen its foothold in the country at a time when many rivals struggled to make headway. But before delving deeper into the reasons for Hyundai’s success here, let’s take a quick look at what else made headlines this past week in the automotive space.

Maruti to shift to rupee-based royalty in 2023

The shift to a rupee-denominated royalty payment system by 2022 envisaged by Maruti Suzuki to its parent Suzuki Motor Corporation will be  delayed by nearly two years.

A significant majority of Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) models will be shifted to a rupee-based payment system from a yen-based system by 2023 or 2024, as per the company chief financial officer Ajay Seth.

Hero MotoCorp ups capex for FY22

Hero MotoCorp, India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, has lined up a capital expenditure (capex) in the range of Rs 800-1,000 crore for FY22 after it made a heavy cut on spending in the current year.

Its idea behind paring capex for FY21 to Rs 600 crore was to cut costs and be demanding on cash spends after the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out all sales projections for the year.

Hyundai bets on EVs, connected cars

Bullish on the long-term growth prospects of the Indian auto industry, South Korean auto major Hyundai aims to focus on various aspects like electrification, connected features and autonomous technology as part of its future product strategy in the country, as per a top company official.

The automaker, which has completed 25 years in the Indian market with over $ 4 billion investment so far, also plans to enhance digitisation across business verticals and focus on mobility services like subscription, hailing and sharing verticals to fuel future growth in the country going ahead.

Honda launches CB350 RS

Four months after launching the CB350 H’ness, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) on February 16 launched a new model on the same platform CB350RS at Rs 1.95 lakh (ex-showroom, pan India).

The CB350RS is powered by a 350cc, air-cooled 4-stroke OHC single-cylinder engine, which produces max power of 15.5 kW@5500 rpm. HMSI claims the CB350RS generates segment-leading torque of 30 Nm@3000rpm.

Renault launches Kiger at Rs 5.45 lakh

French automotive company Renault has launched the Kiger in India at a starting price of Rs 5.45 lakh (ex-showroom, all India). Though the prices are introductory they make the compact SUV the most affordable in its category.

The entry automatic (AMT) variant is priced at Rs 6.59 lakh while the top-end variant of the Kiger is priced at Rs 9.55 lakh. Bookings and deliveries of the Kiger begin from February 15.

Hyundai completes 25 years when peers continue to struggle

Korean automotive brand Hyundai entered India in 1996, a year later than two American heavyweights General Motors and Ford. 1995 also saw the entry of Daewoo, which was also a Korean car company. France’s largest carmaker Peugeot beat all four to enter India in 1994. As Hyundai celebrates 25 years of its existence in India, the world’s fourth largest auto market, each of the four companies above mentioned went through major upheavals.

General Motors, Peugeot and Daewoo quit India is desperation, unable to bear losses any further. Even 26 years after setting foot in India, Ford has a share of less than 2 percent in the domestic passenger vehicle market of India.

But the struggle is not restricted only to foreign brands. Hindustan Motors and Premier went belly up at least in their PV segment aspirations. Only Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra survived through the 1990s before eventually finding their footing in the mid-2000s.

Starting with the value for money car Santro in 1998 that targeted the middle class or salaried buyer and becoming the prime competitor to the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R, one of the best-selling cars of that time, Hyundai became a household name

Beating the homegrown heavyweights in their own backyard Hyundai secured the second spot in PV ranking riding on models like the Accent, Getz, Verna and Sonata during the first decade of its entry into India. In the ensuing years Xcent, i10 and Eon brought even better volumes and solidified Hyundai’s position in the PV segment.

Game changers like Creta, Elite i20, Grand i10 Nios and the fully electric Kona pushed the Hyundai towards premiumisation even as the Venue ensured volume generation from the affordable category. As of the end of January, Hyundai had a market share of nearly 18 percent of the PV market in India.

Hyundai is now slowly snatching away market share from leader Maruti Suzuki. In 2020 Hyundai became the biggest brand in the SUV segment which had been dominated by Maruti Suzuki Brezza.

Hyundai managed to sell over 9 million vehicles since its inception and has invested over $ 4 billion in India. With a total of 1,154 sales outlets, Hyundai is just a shade behind leader Maruti Suzuki which has nearly 1,400 dealerships.

By establishing one of its only two regional headquarters in the world in India, the Korean giant has highlighted the importance the country holds in its global strategy.