Hyundai sees the Rs1-lakh car as "not possible"; plans a $3000 car in five years

New Delhi: Leading the bandwagon of sceptics, Hyundai has termed as ''impossible'' the Rs1 lakh car that the Tatas are so vigorously working on, citing safety aspects.

According to H S Lheem, CEO and managing director of Hyundai Motor India, the safety issues, norms and input costs from Hyundai''s standpoint make the Rs1 lakh car impossible.

For its part, Hyundai says it would like to bring to market an entry-level car with a competitive price tag of $3000, along the lines of the one on Renault drawing board. Hyundai, according to Lheem, is "well equipped" to enter the lo-cost segment which the Rs1 lakh car is aiming at.

He said that Hyundai has the technology for small car, in terms of an 800cc engine already in the market in Korea, and is confident of developing the technology for a 650cc engine.

Lheem, however, clarified that HMIL was in no rush to enter the segment, and does not have any immediate plans to enter the 800cc or the 650cc segments, and suggests a five year time line before Hyundai would enter the segment.

Hyundai foresees Rs120,000, the equivalent of $3,000 (US), as a justifiably feasible price or a company to pose as a credible competitor in the small car market. Currently, Hyundai''s lowest offering is the non-AC base model of the Santro, at an entry-level price of Rs2.7 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Hyundai is not the only sceptic of Tata''s Rs1-lakh car, and is part of a camp comprised of rivals like Suzuki. However, the Tata''s endeavour has generated most than its fair share of interest, with French auto maker Renault announcing similar plans to develop a small car for the Indian market that would be priced around $3,000. The French car company is reportedly in talks with domestic two-wheeler giant Bajaj Auto for a possible partnership for the project.