Hyundai entered the Indian market way back in 1998 and launched the Santro here. At that point of time, the Santro’s only competitors were the old Maruti Suzuki Zen, which was already well-received, and the WagonR and Alto which were later launched in 1999 and 2000 respectively. The Santro performed well in our market and managed to create some brand recognition for Hyundai and the company then went on to launch the Accent and Sonata. The company then gave the Santro a minor update in 2001 where the vehicle got new headlamps, tail lights, redesigned bumpers and a power steering assembly which was a fairly uncommon feature back then.
The new generation Santro was launched in 2003 and it was called the Santro Xing. It is not at all surprising that the Santro Xing continued to take Hyundai’s legacy forward and the company kept giving it minor updates every now and then but the fact is that Hyundai is selling the same car since a decade now and it fails to keep up with the competition. The Santro Xing misses out on many features like ABS, airbags, automatic climate control, alloy wheels and so on. Tall-boy hatchbacks are generally well-accepted by buyers here and hence even though Hyundai is scouting for a replacement for the Santro, the company still wants the new vehicle to have a tall-boy design.
Kia Motors, which is a sister company of Hyundai, had recently launched the Ray hatchback globally and now Hyundai is studying the possibility of launching the Ray in India. Even though these two companies are sister concerns, it is a known fact that Kia is planning to enter the Indian market separately and hence the company wouldn’t want to handover the Ray to Hyundai. Even if that does happen, Kia would charge Hyundai a hefty royalty and just because of this reason, the price of the Ray would go up and that would take away the value-for-money factor from it.
The Kia Ray is sold with a 1.0-litre petrol engine which produces 105 BHP of power but if it makes it’s way to India, it is very likely that Hyundai would plonk the 1.2-litre Kappa petrol engine under the Ray’s hood. Right now it is very difficult to speculate whether the Ray would hit Indian shores or not but if it does get launched here at a competitive price then it would make for a very good proposition since Hyundai has great after-sales support and the brand is well-accepted among buyers. The Hyundai Santro is priced between Rs. 3.06-4.35 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) and even though it is such an outdated product, it still manages decent sales every month, most of it coming from the rural market.
Source – Autocar