SUVs have been a rage in the Indian market since the start of this decade. Though the trend started off with larger SUVs like the Duster and XUV500, manufacturers started providing smaller cost-effective models as well. Some like the Brezza and Nexon did great however not all could garner the same response, for example the Premier Rio and Mahindra Nuvosport.
Recently, OEMs have started to venture in the hatchback segment with SUV inspired vehicles, while calling them micro SUVs. The segment currently has the KUV100 from Mahindra and Ignis from Maruti. However, going ahead, it is expected to be joined by the production variant of the Future-S concept from Maruti which was displayed at the 2018 Auto Expo.
Hyundai too is planning to venture in the segment with a new product which will compete directly with the production version of the Future-S concept. The micro SUV will sit under the road-ready version of the Carlino concept (codenamed QXi) and will become the new entry level SUV from Hyundai post its launch.
Considering that the ‘baby Creta’ is expected to reach the market in 2019, followed by a launch of the Kona electric SUV, the micro SUV won’t be launched before 2020. This would also be around the time when Maruti will be launching its entry level SUV based on the Future-S concept, hence it makes an opportune time for Hyundai to launch a direct rival. This new small SUV will be based on the new Santro platform from Hyundai.
Hyundai traditionally hasn’t been a SUV player in India however things changed for the Korean manufacturer post the launch of Creta in 2015. The SUV has done astonishingly well by garnering around 7-8k monthly sales, which were boosted to 5-digit numbers post the launch of the 2018 update.
In a recent conversation, Hyundai India’s MD, Y K Koo, stated that Hyundai will further strengthen its SUV portfolio by launching the QXi and a micro SUV for the entry-level segment and a premium product for the customers who want to upgrade from Creta. Safe to presume that there is some Korean competition coming up against the Toyota Fortuner and Mahindra XUV700!