Hyundai Motor India mulls expansion, launch new models

Chennai, Aug 4 (IANS) Hyundai Motor India is mulling marginal expansion in capacity and launching new models to maintain its share of around 20 percent in the growing Indian passenger car market, said a top company official.

‘With marginal investment we can increase our capacity by 70,000 units per annum thereby taking the total capacity to 670,000 units. We will be launching new models with technology that models sold by competition do not have,’ Managing Director H.W. Park told reporters at the company’s Irrungattukotai plant near here Wednesday.

He specified no time frame for increasing the capacity. Officials also declined to elaborate further on the new models to be launched.

According to Arvind Saxena, director (marketing and sales), the company is focusing is on the domestic market as the demand is increasing.

He said the ratio of domestic sales to exports for this year will be 58:42.

Ruling out any major capacity expansion, he said: ‘It takes at least two years to plan and add fresh capacity. I do not see any such idea at this juncture.’

The company is working towards increasing its dealer network to 320 from the current 294 and service points to 625 by the end of this year.

‘This will be the major differentiator,’ Park added.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor India became the second car maker in the country to touch three million unit production and sales when its popular i10 car model rolled out the assembly line.

‘It has been a long journey for the company from 1998 when the first car was rolled out,’ Park said.

It was in 1996 the company had its ground breaking ceremony at Irrungattukottai and in Sept 1998 the first car Santro was rolled out.

In 2008, the company doubled its capacity to 600,000 units.

Starting its exports with a small consignment of 20 Santros to Nepal in 1999, Hyundai Motor India soon became the country’s largest car exporter.

According to Saxena, the company ships out cars to five continents and by the end of this year the Made in India Hyundai cars will reach the shores of around 120 countries.

However, the labour problem is the one that dogs the company like a sore thumb despite it being the best pay master in the Indian automotive sector.

Queried about the progress made by the six member review committee set up to consider the reinstatement of 32 dismissed workers, Senior Vice President (Finance and Corporate Affairs) R.Sethuraman said: ‘The decision of the Committee is binding on us. As a result we want it to draw a clear cut framework.’

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