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India zooms past China to become Hyundai’s biggest production centre outside Korea

China has the Korean company’s biggest plants outside Korea and twice the capacity here. India has also become the largest overseas market for Hyundai in total sales globally

October 05, 2020 / 05:14 PM IST
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India marched past China to turn out the highest number of Hyundai cars outside Korea in 2019, producing one in every four of the company’s cars worldwide.

This is despite China having Hyundai’s largest production capacity in the world outside Korea and twice its capacity in India.

As per data released by the mother company in Korea, in 2019, Hyundai Motor India produced 682,000 cars and sports utility vehicles, much more than Hyundai’s China subsidiary, which produced 658,000 units during the same year.

India gaining in significance for Suzuki Motor Company (producer of the Maruti Suzuki brand of cars) and Hyundai comes on the back of a slew of foreign automotive brands quitting the country in the last 3-4 years.

Hyundai has created a capacity of 1.35 million in China though less than half is being used. In India, the company has a capacity of around 700,000-750,000 units a year. While Hyundai entered India in 1998 it established the China company in 2002.

Hyundai’s largest overseas market

India has now also become the largest overseas market for the Korean heavyweight in total sales globally. Domestic and export volumes put together saw Hyundai Motor India (HMI) clock 691,460 units (510,260 domestic + 181,200 export) in sales in 2019.

During the same year Beijing Hyundai Motor Company (BHMC), the Chinese joint venture, saw sales of 662,590 units (650,123 domestic + 12,467 exports).

India maintained that lead over China in 2020 (till August) as well, posting total sales volumes of 267,844 units compared to 262,621 units sold by China. The Grand i10 Nios, Creta, Venue and Elite i20 are among the 13 models sold by Hyundai in India.

In 2020, so far, Hyundai has launched the updated version of the Verna and Tucson. Creta marked the launch of Hyundai’s first all-new model for the year. The company plans to expand its bouquet with the scheduled launch of the new Elite i20 before December, followed by the all-new Elantra in 2021.

"India-centric approach is what make players like Suzuki, Hyundai different from other global players in India. Hyundai has exploited the potential of exporting small cars from India in big way. Providing latest features coupled with value pricing is the success mantra in India which nobody can understand better than Suzuki and Hyundai", Puneet Gupta, associate director, IHS Markit, said
As per data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Hyundai’s market share in the domestic market during the April-August period climbed to 20 percent.

While SIAM has declined to give a market outlook for the sector’s 2020 sales, Hyundai has estimated a drop of 31 percent in volumes to 20 lakh units from 29 lakh units sold in 2019, despite a significant recovery in demand in the second half of the year.

 Exit by others

India is already the biggest market in the world for Suzuki Motor Corporation. Its India subsidiary, Maruti Suzuki, is the country’s largest carmaker, with a share of around 50 percent. Both Maruti and Hyundai have made significant investments in recent years to boost their presence here.

Brands such as General Motors and Fiat have quit the country while Ford has given up control of a majority of its assets in India to Mahindra & Mahindra after a write off of losses.

The commercial vehicle and two-wheeler segments have also seen similar exits, the more recent being cruiser bike maker Harley-Davidson.

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Swaraj Baggonkar
Swaraj Baggonkar
first published: Oct 5, 2020 09:41 am