Hyundai Motor India on Monday forayed into the entry-level SUV segment in the country with the launch of all-new model Exter, with introductory prices ranging between ₹5.99 lakh and ₹9.31 lakh (ex-showroom).

The model, which competes directly with Tata Motors Punch, comes powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine mated with both manual and automatic variants.

The five-speed manual trims, which deliver fuel efficiency of 19.4 km per litre are priced between ₹5.99 lakh and ₹9.31 lakh.

The five-speed automatic variant is tagged at ₹7.96 lakh with a claimed fuel efficiency of 19.2 km per litre.

The CNG trim is priced at ₹8.23 lakh with an efficiency of 27.1 km per kg.

Speaking at the launch, Hyundai Motor India MD and CEO Unsoo Kim said with the launch of Exter, the automaker has now become a full-range SUV manufacturer in the country.

He noted that the company has invested ₹950 crore on the development of the model.

Commitment to Indian market

Outlining Hyundai's commitment to the Indian market, Kim said the automaker has recently announced a ₹20,000-crore investment spread over ten years to enhance production capacity, introduce electric models and set up a battery pack unit in Tamil Nadu.

The company is looking to enhance its annual production capacity to 8.5 lakh units per annum from 8.2 lakh units currently at its Chennai-based plant, he added.

Hyundai Motor India COO Tarun Garg noted that the model would help in bringing additional volumes to the company while strengthening its overall SUV portfolio.

"Exter is our eighth SUV model in the country. With this, now we are the only company to offer products in the six SUV sub-segments," he added.

Segment leadership

Outlining the growth of the SUV segment, he stated that the vertical now accounts for 46 per cent to the overall passenger vehicle sales in the country.

For the company, the contribution of the SUVs in its overall sales has gone up to 54 per cent currently from 34 per cent in 2019, he added.

"We have also achieved leadership in three segments where we have Verna, Creta and Tucson," Garg said.

In the SUV segment, the automaker already sells models like Venue, Creta, Alcazar, Tucson, Kona Electric and Ioniq 5.

Garg noted that sales in the entry-level SUV segment could touch 20,000-22,000 units per month with the launch of Exter.

Tata Punch currently sells around 11,000 units per month. Last year the model sales stood at 1,29,895 units, while in the January-June period this year it stood at 67,117 units.

"Exter will bring in so many more new customers for Hyundai and the entire segment benchmark will go up," Garg said.

The Exter comes with a boot space of 391 litres, ground clearance of 185 mm, dash cam with dual cameras, electric sunroof, six airbags as standard and various connected features.

Sales outlook

On sales outlook for the rest of the fiscal, Garg stated that things are looking good with chip shortage is more or less over.

The automaker has grown by 10.5 per cent in the first half of this year, he said.

"So I think things are looking good. And this was without Exter... now a good volume model is coming, so things should be good going forward," Garg said.

Hyundai sold 2.96 lakh units in January-June period this year, as compared to 2.67 lakh units in the same period of last year.

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