labels: in the news, hyundai motor india, passenger cars, marketing - general
Hyundai adds style to the "A" segment with the i10 news
Dhruv Tanwar
01 November 2007
Mumbai: Amidst great pomp and show, which included a sound and light experience, a performance by lady gymnasts suspended from the ceiling, and some very good looking young people strutting the catwalk, Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL) unveiled its latest offering in the compact car category, the i10.

Introduced to compliment it''s ''A'' segment offering, the Hyundai i10, which was codenamed "Pa" during its development, together with the Santro and the Getz Prime, will make the company one of the biggest players in the category, according to managing director H S Lheem.

The car itself if quite an eye-catcher, and left the audience trying to figure out which was prettier - the Getz, or the i10. Loaded with stylistic and functional innovations, the car is decidedly world-class.

The new i10 is powered by a 1.1 litre, iRDE petrol engine that marries power to fuel economy, developing maximum power of 66.7PS@5500 RPM, and a peak torque of 10.1 kgm @ 2800 RPM. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission with a console mounted, ergonomic, short throw i-shift gear box, which frees up space between the driver and the passenger seat, and also gives a unique look, counted amongst the numerous category-firsts the car has in terms of features. The car has a motor driver power steering system, and also comes in the option of a 4-speed automatic transmission to ease up city driving.

Attractive exteriors and spacious interiors, the i10 comes with airconditioning and heating, folding rear seats, dual-tone beige interiors, seat belts with pretensioners, and an electronic odometer and trip meter, and tubeless tyres as standard fitments. The top end variant also sports a sun-roof, another category-first, with a rear spoiler, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, keyless entry, 2-DIN audio system with MP3 that is blended into the dashboard, giving the car a premium look and feel similar to some of the C and D-segment cars.

Scoring on safety, the i10 comes with anti-lock braking system (ABS), seat belts with pretensioners, dual airbags for the driver and front passenger, and another category first - an impact sensing auto door unlock mechanism that automatically unlocks the doors upon impact.

The i10 will be marketed in four trims, the D-lite, the Era, the Magna which is the top end variant, and the Auto with automatic transmission. It will sport a colour range of 10 colours.

Priced aggressively to heat up competition in the segment, the car varies from Rs3.39 lakhs (excluding octroi), to Rs3,98,500 for the top end variant, in Mumbai.

Taking the media and the audience through a brief introduction prior to the launch, H S Lheem said that HMIL has come a long way since the ground breaking ceremony at its factory in Chennai in 1996, and the launch of the Santro in 1998. Talking about the i10, he said that the car offers "a blend of style and practicality", and was "good to look at, and even better to drive".

On the name ''i10'', Lheem said that the ''i'' stood for inspiration, intelligence, and innovation, with the car being loaded with all three in terms of inspiration for the design, intelligent engineering, and a number of innovations, some of which come as "category firsts", as no other car in the category offers them.

Lheem said the focus of the company, while covering all of the above, was to keep the car affordable to its Indian customers. The ''10'' in the car''s name signifies "A" segment, and consequently the ''i20'' and ''i30'' would be HMIL''s offerings in the "B" and "C" segments, Lheem said.

Lheem further said that the i10 would be manufactured only at the company''s Chennai plant, and would be exported to 75 countries, starting from early 2008. He also clarified that the Santro would continue to be manufactured, and that the i10 would add strength to HMIL''s product offering in the compact category.

Jae Kook Choi, president, Hyundai Motor Company, thanked the company''s Indian customers for their support over the past decade, and reaffirmed the company''s commitment to India, and its plans to make it a hub for small cars. He said that starting next year, the company would be exporting 50 per cent of its production, about 300,000 units, and HMIL contributes 30 per cent of HMC''s overseas production.

Disclosing future plans, Choi, who had specially flown down from Korea for this global premier of the i10, said that HMIL will strengthen its research and development capabilities at the Hyderabad facility, and would offer integrated research and development, sales, and marketing to the Indian car market.

Just before the unveiling, HMIL''s vice president of sales and marketing, Arvind Saxena explained the features of the car, and how Hyundai seeks to position it along with the Santro and the Getz, saying that the i10 would bring about "a paradigm shift in the way India looks at compacts." The i10, according to Saxena is positioned in the mid-range of the "A" segment, which is seeing the maximum growth.

Addressing questions from the media, H S Lheem said that 1,500 units of the i10 would be manufactured this month, and the year end tally would be around 15,000 units, all for the domestic market. The car has an unbelievable 94 per cent indigenous content, and would be marketed through the company''s 196 existing dealerships, which will be ramped up to 250 by the end of 2007.

Lheem said that the European market, which is a key market for the i10, is about 40 per cent diesel. Consequently, HMIL has already developed a diesel variant of the i10, and would be exporting it starting January 2008. He said the company has not yet set a date for launching the diesel, CNG, and LPG variants in India, but affirmed that the company had plans of bringing the car out in these alternative fuel options some time in the future.

Speaking to domain-b, Arvind Saxena said that the car was targeted at young Indians, in the 25-35 age groups, possibly with double incomes. Asked about how he sees the car competing with competition, he said the i10 would definitely give the Chevy Spark, the Maruti Zen Estilo, and other competing cars a run for their money. Asked about how he foresaw the i10 tackling the run-away success of Maruti''s Swift, he simply said, "Watch us!"

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Hyundai adds style to the "A" segment with the i10