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Published on: July 24, 2023, 9:55 p.m.
Another SUV joins the Hyundai line-up
  • Exter is set to redefine the entry-level SUV segment

By S.M. Boothem

Hyundai Motor India (HMI) enters the micro-SUV segment with the introduction of Exter, becoming the only auto brand in India to offer an SUV in six segments. The new Exter will compete with Tata Motors’ Punch, which currently sells around 10,000 units per month, indicating significant growth potential in this segment. Exter is ideally positioned to attract new buyers and gain market share in the entry-level SUV segment.

Hyundai has been aggressively promoting its products through various branding activities. In its initial launch of the Santro in India, Hyundai enlisted Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan as brand ambassador, and this partnership continues to grow stronger. The company’s branding initiatives extend beyond a single segment and cover various areas. 

Earlier this year, HMI partnered with Indian women cricketers Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Yastika Bhatia, and Renuka Singh as brand ambassadors to support women in sports and promote their new campaign. The campaign showcases their hard work and motivates young individuals. The latest addition to Hyundai’s brand-building efforts is cricketer Hardik Pandya, exclusively endorsing the Hyundai Exter. 

The season of SUVs

Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) continue to be highly popular among Indian customers, with increasing demand. The industry’s monthly average sales of SUVs were 62,924 units in 2019, 98,595 units in 2021, and 154,947 units in 2023. Hyundai’s contribution to the SUV segment in terms of monthly average sales was 14,287 units, 21,049 units, and 26,809 units during the same period. Despite new launches from other car manufacturers, HMI’s flagship brand, the Creta remains dominant in the Indian SUV market, with 14,447 units sold in June 2023.

“Hyundai Motor India has always set new benchmarks in the industry with its revolutionary products and technologies. Once again, with Exter, we are proud to introduce an SUV that embodies Hyundai’s commitment to innovative design, intelligent technology, and exceptional performance. With its modern and confident exterior, cutting-edge technology, and unparalleled safety features, Hyundai Exter is poised to redefine this fast-growing entry-level segment,” said Unsoo Kim, MD & CEO of HMI.

The Exter offers an extensive range of features to meet the evolving needs of modern customers, ensuring ease of driving, comfort, and safety. Its spacious cabin reflects a unique tall stance and long wheelbase, providing easy ingress and egress, ample knee and legroom, a relaxed seating position, and generous headroom and shoulder room for both short and long journeys.

Notably, the Exter sets a milestone as India’s first entry-level SUV to offer six airbags as standard across all trims. It is available with three powertrain options: the 1.2-litre Kappa petrol (E20 fuel-ready) with a choice of 5-speed MT and smart auto AMT, and the 1.2-litre bi-fuel Kappa petrol and CNG. Prices range between Rs5,99,900-Rs9,99,990 (introductory price).

  • We are well on our way to creating yet another iconic brand in India. Considering the target group of this SUV, we couldn’t think of a better brand ambassador than the highly-appreciated youth icon of India, Hardik Pandya

“We are committed to offering new technologies, advanced powertrains, futuristic design and breakthrough products to our Indian customers. We aim to have an SUV for every Indian household, and we are proud that Hyundai now holds a leadership position in three premium segments in the Indian auto market,” explained Tarun Garg, COO of HMI.

“We launched an extensive and sustained marketing campaign with the introduction of Exter in India. Since its unveiling in February 2023, Exter has received tremendous acclaim from the media and the public, generating one of the highest positive sentiments we have ever witnessed. We are well on our way to creating yet another iconic brand in India. Considering the target group of this SUV, we couldn’t think of a better brand ambassador than the highly-appreciated youth icon of India, Hardik Pandya,” added Garg.

HMI recently announced plans to make further advancements in electric vehicles and modernise its vehicle platform. Over a period of 10 years, HMI will invest Rs20,000 crore in a phased manner. As part of this plan, they will establish a battery pack assembly unit with an annual capacity of 1,78,000 battery units. Additionally, HMI aims to install 100 EV charging stations at key locations along major highways within 5 years. HMI also plans to increase total production volumes to 8,50,000 units per year and introduce new electric and ICE vehicles from its factory in Sriperumbudur.

With a comprehensive product line-up, the new Exter is expected to further bolster HMI’s sales and market share.

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