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Hyundai drives in Santro Zip Plus

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Mr Y.S. Kim, Managing Director, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, with the Vice-President, Mr B.V. R. Subbu, at the launch of the new Santro Zip Plus in New Delhi on Monday.

NEW DELHI, March 18

HYUNDAI Motor India on Monday launched the 1100cc Santro, which sports a more powerful engine that would help it compete better with the larger-sized engines of its competitors.

Priced at Rs 3,35,216 for the entry-level model, the Santro `Zip Plus' is Hyundai's answer to growing consumer demand for a larger sized engine since the launch of the 1.4-litre Indica, 1.1-litre Wagon R and Alto and the 1.2-litre Palio.

As the Zip Plus costs only about Rs 7,000 more than the 1.0-litre car version, Hyundai is expecting customers to overwhelmingly opt for the new car, Mr B.V.R. Subbu, President (Designate), of the company told a press conference here.

Monday saw the global launch of the Zip Plus, which will now be launched in Korea and Europe shortly.

Mr Subbu said that Hyundai did not intend to phase out the 1.0-litre Santro; instead, the new model would only offer more choices to customers.

"We will sell the 1.0-litre car for the export markets as well. Hyundai Motor India will ultimately become the global sourcing base for the Santro car,'' he said.

The Zip Plus will be available in four variants, with the most expensive version costing Rs 4,00,158 in Delhi showrooms.

Besides more power and better upholstery, the new car has, among other features, a `distributorless' ignition system, a knock sensor that results in improved mileage and lower emission.

Hyundai Motor India, a fully-owned subsidiary of South Korea's Hyundai Motor Corp, intended to launch the Terracan utility vehicle with a 2.5-litre turbo diesel engine in July-August, Mr Subbu said.

The Terracan, for which Hyundai was collecting customer feedback, could have a price tag of about Rs 18-20 lakh, Mr Subbu said.

It also intends to launch the Accent with a new diesel engine in August and the Sonata luxury car with an automatic transmission around Diwali.

Plans for IPO

Mr Subbu said the company was still getting advice from its merchant bankers about the timing of an initial public offering, which was being considered only because of a commitment given to the Government at the time of launching operations in India.

"For our immediate requirement of funds for expansion, we have our internal resources. The IPO is because we had told the Government of sharing wealth with the public here,'' he said.

Hyundai intends to invest about Rs 300 crore in the near-term to expand its capacity to 1.5 lakh units a year from the current level of 1.2 lakh units.

"The first phase of this expansion would finish by September 2002 and the full phase would be over by Feb-March 2003,'' Mr Subbu said.

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