Hyundai’s MPV plans were previously shelved to make way for crossovers and compact-SUVs
Hyundai India expressed interest in the country’s MPV segment years ago but nothing has been concrete so far. The segment itself witnessed a trough for a period with just the Maruti Ertiga and Toyota Innova managing to maintain the status quo. However, it looks like the people movers are back in the vogue as suggested by the success enjoyed by recent launches.
The Kia Carnival (know complete details), despite a decidedly premium positioning, started off strongly. The recent changes in tread have prompted Hyundai to think about reviving its MPV plans. Speaking to Hindustan Times, SS Kim, Managing Director and CEO of Hyundai Motor India Ltd., stated that the company is very cautiously studying the feasibility of having an offering in multi-seater high occupancy segment.
He stopped shorting of giving a price range in which the potential Hyundai MPV would be positioned. Back in 2012, the South Korean automaker unveiled a compact crossover MPV concept at the Auto Expo in the form of Hexa Space (HND 7). The 7-seater with innovative seating arrangement was supported to spawn a production version to go head-on with the Maruti Ertiga. However, market scenario evolved and Hyundai’s preference shifted towards crossover SUVs. The MPV plans were shelved.
Reviving the Ertiga-rival plan is not a bad idea now given that the Maruti MPV has been racking up impressive sales numbers ever since it was updated. Hyundai has been meticulously building a premium brand image in the country all these years and this means it could pull off a premium MPV to challenge the formidable Toyota Innova Crysta. Also, the Kia Carnival has proved that there are enough takers in the market for a plush and spacious people mover above the Innova segment. This niche is also something Hyundai could be looking at.
Speaking about revisiting the premium SUV segment where it used to have a presence with the Tuscon, Kim stated that for now, the company is only studying the segment, customer response and their preference and demand. Nothing has been finalized as of now.
The company just launched the radical new Hyundai Creta in India. The compact crossover SUV which surpassed 5 lakh unit sales milestone in its first generation had a strong start in its second innings. Even before the price announcement, the new Creta garnered over 14,000 bookings. The Kia Seltos rival is priced between INR 9.9 lakh to 17.2 lakh (ex-showroom). With four offerings – Venue, Creta, Tuscon and Kona EV – Hyundai is planning to establish clear leadership in the crossover segment.