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Tuesday, Jul 09, 2002

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Hyundai planning to bring in Carens next

Vinay Kamath


HYUNDAI Motor India Ltd plans to add next to its portfolio of models the Carens, a five-six seater multi-utility vehicle (MUV) made by its associate company in South Korea, Kia Motors. Top company sources said that the company had put the launch of its upper-end sports utility vehicle, the Terracan, on the backburner and is instead looking at the Carens as the car to offer in the growing MUV-segment in which the likes of Mahindra Bolero and Scorpio, Tata Sumo and Safari, Toyota's Qualis and Maruti's Versa compete.

Company sources said that the Indian market was ready for a reasonably priced "family recreation" vehicle and that the Carens with a "car-like attitude and feel" from the Kia stable can take on the other MUVs in this segment. The pricing of the Carens is expected to be a notch above the existing MUVs. Carens, according to the auto magazine, Auto Motor & Sport, is the second best selling car in South Korea. The car features a 1.8 litre petrol engine, but as a Hyundai spokesman says, the company here has a host of engine options in various capacities today, including the CRDi engine - the common rail direct injection diesel engine, which Hyundai will be launching soon in the Accent.

The Carens has more of a car-like look than the existing MUVs in the market and at 4.4 metres in length equals the Qualis, and is slightly broader, making seating more comfortable. But its height is lower than that of the Qualis and weighs less too.

Currently, Hyundai operates in three distinct segments, which do not overlap. The Santro is in the popular B segment, Accent in the C or mid-size segment and the Sonata operates in the D luxury segment.

Hyundai does not have any other offering as of now and the Carens is expected to fill this gap in its family of cars. Some time next year Hyundai is planning to launch the super-mini car, the Getz, which is expected to be positioned between the Santro and the Accent.

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