Delhi: Hyundai Motors India has launched a new, more
powerful version of the Sonata, its premium luxury car,
equipped with an efficient V6 2.7-litre engine, at an
estimated ex-showroom price of around Rs 16 lakh to Rs
Hyundai Motor India
president B V R Subbu says the new Sonata comes with a
2.7-litre engine and is equipped with H-Matic transmission
that allows the driver to choose between an automatic
and a manual transmission mode.
from this it has an eight-way power adjustable driver
seat, dual front airbags, an electronic brake distribution
system and an anti-lock braking system as standard fitment.
It also has a new radiator grille and a dual collapsible
Thus, the new Sonata
is the only brand other than the Honda Accord in the domestic
market that is available with auto transmission in this
segment though it will be the cheaper than the Japanese
car, which is priced at about Rs 17 lakh.
Though the new
model currently has a local content of less than 50 per
cent, this would be brought up to the level for the existing
2.0-litre Sonata in the next few months, says Subbu. The
Sonata 2.7V6 will be rolled out across top 67 dealerships
out of its dealership network of 107.
The existing model
of the Sonata with manual transmission is steered by a
2-litre engine. It is priced in the range of Rs 11.90
lakh to Rs 13.5 lakh and is the most economical model
among the luxury cars.
Sources say one
of the purposes of introducing the new Sonata with a more
powerful engine is to combat the impression that the product
is underpowered, as compared to rival offerings from Honda,
Ford and now Toyota.
This is the second
high-profile launch in the D segment of cars in very recent
times as Toyota Kirloskar Motor launched the Toyota Camry
just last week. Also General Motors plans to introduce
the Opel Vectra in the next few months.
Hyundai Motor claims
to have grabbed a market share of 50 per cent in the D
segment as during the April to September period of 2002,
it sold 859 units of the Sonata, while Honda sold 586
units of the Accord and Ford sold 306 units of the Mondeo.
Among the super
luxury cars, only the Ford Mondeo has a diesel variant
and the Toyota Camry, rolled out last week, has two petrol
variants but with manual transmission. Hyundai officials
say the company has invested Rs 60 crore in the Sonata
project (towards assembly line in Chennai) and that no
additional investments were made in developing the Sonata
2.7 litre V6, which at Rs 15.9 lakh (in Delhi) is around
Rs 3 lakh more expensive than the Sonata.
To support the
launch, Hyundai will soon unveil a new television commercial
aimed at consolidating the Sonatas market-share
of 50 per cent in the D segment. The new Sonatas
positioning phrase is A New Dimension in Luxury,
while the basic Sonata is positioned as Rediscover
Also the company
is expanding privileges under Imperial Exclusive,
a customer reward programme for Sonata owners. So, besides
offering preferential services at Hyundai dealerships,
the company plans to develop linkages with the hospitality
sector so to offer best deals to Sonata owners.
Also, in order
to associate the Sonata with royal heritage, the company
is planning to develop new properties around opera and
western classical events. Sonata has also been linked
with sports like polo (Maharaja Sir Pratap Singh Cup)
Since its launch
in July 2001, the Sonata has sold over 3,000 units, including
1,803 units during January-September 2002. The brand (including
the new variant launch) is expected to surpass sales of
2,000 units by mid-November 2002.
officials say the Terracan, a sports-utility-vehicle,
will be launched in the second half of January 2003. Meanwhile,
market studies for the Getz, the companys small
car, were still on and would be completed by February,
according to Subbu. Hyundai Motor India is expected to
post a turnover of Rs 4,000 crore in 2002-03 - up from
Rs 3,700 crore in 2001-02.