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Creta sets the sales charts on fire

Updated on: Oct 08, 2015
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Petrol, automatic options find favour while more women are queuing up for the SUV

Rakesh Srivastava believes the Creta was born to rule. At one level, you cannot help but agree with the Senior Vice-President (Sales & Marketing) of Hyundai Motors India given the resounding reception the SUV has received in the market since its launch in July.

With Creta sales comfortably averaging over 7,500 units each month, Srivasatva has reasons to be pleased with this showing. More importantly, Hyundai would also feel quite triumphant since the vehicle has shown the way in a segment where it was hardly present.

Not only has the Creta zoomed ahead in the SUV rankings game, it has ended up putting pressure on rival products from Mahindra & Mahindra, Renault, Ford and, more recently, Maruti Suzuki. The Bolero is perhaps slightly ahead at this point, but it is not directly comparable to the segment the Creta operates in.

“This is a strong statement from Hyundai in a segment where we were not present. This is even more significant since a brand has succeeded in a poor market,” adds Srivastava.

Today, 20 per cent of Cretas sold are automatics, while petrol accounts for 25 per cent of sales, and this, in a market where diesel dominates the SUV space with a 90 per cent share. According to Srivastava, there is also a growing queue of women looking to buy the product. “Women have expressed tremendous interest in the Creta as it is a stylish SUV that offers ease of driving, with an automatic option and modern day gizmos. The Creta is connected to the modern world,” he declares.

There was, of course, a lot of hard work put into making the SUV a reality. It was a marathon exercise which involved Hyundai’s R&D teams from South Korea and India working in tandem to understand what the SUV customer really wanted. The company was only too aware that this was a challenger brand which would have to take on established leaders like the Scorpio, Duster and EcoSport.

‘Understand needs of buyers’

“Understanding the aspirations and needs of the buyer has really worked for the Creta. In particular, we were aware of the growing evolution of the customer and his priorities,” says Srivastava.

This also explains how previous launches like the Grand i10 and Elite i20 had hit the sweet spot in the market. Research on the making of the Creta suggested that the existing lineup of SUVs in India was essentially what one would term “rough with bare necessities”.

Hyundai believed the need of the hour was an offering with a taller stance and dominating presence which was also capable of handling rough roads. As a result, the rough feature had to be replaced by something strong, bold and beautiful. Bare necessities had to give way to something with a luxury feel, and a premium technology experience. “In a competitive scenario, it was important to focus on the customer’s wants, especially when almost everyone is clued into smartphones and applications. Creta needed to make driving modern,” says Srivastava.

Confident of success

These are still early days for the SUV but Hyundai is confident that it has hit the bull’s-eye with this offering. To that extent, it has the potential to be a disruptive product that can change the dynamics in the auto arena, right from rival SUVs as well as premium sedans. This is also a market where SUVs have been seeing rapid growth and are gradually eating into the conventional car space.

In this backdrop, the sky is the limit for the Creta; though Srivastava reiterates that there will be no room for complacency as the team will continue stepping on the gas in its selling efforts. This was the case with the i10 and i20 as well, which are doing over 11,000 units per month each and, with the Creta, have boosted Hyundai’s monthly numbers to well over 40,000 units.

Again, thanks to the Creta’s good showing thus far, the Korean carmaker has revised upwards its original business plan of doing 4.65 lakh units in the Indian market this calendar.

The overall projections, including its international business, are a little over 6.3 lakh units. Exports of the Creta will also have to take a backseat for the moment as the waiting list in the domestic market is already over three months. By the end of the day, it has been a remarkable year for Hyundai and it will be interesting to see how it sustains the momentum in the coming years.

Changing profiles

The company has been around in India for nearly two decades now and had made its intent known even then as the first serious rival to Maruti Suzuki. It launched the Santro to take on the latter’s compact car monopoly and hit pay dirt almost immediately.

Maruti, has not been an easy pushover and is comfortably ahead with monthly sales averaging one lakh plus units. Despite this, Hyundai would have reason to feel optimistic with the heady response to the Creta coupled with the fact that the market is transitioning to SUVs.

The company has been quick to recognise that the profile of the Indian buyer has been changing thanks to technology and higher disposable income levels. The focus on styling and design has paid off and Hyundai will hope to build on this growth.

Published on January 22, 2018

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