The company, which will launch a new compact car Grand i10 next month in the market, is hoping to cater to markets similar to India with such products which will be designed and developed here.
“Yes, the aim is to have a car fully developed here in India. It won’t happen in the next three to four years. It can happen after five years or more,” Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) chief coordinator C.H. Han said.
Elaborating reasons for the need to be able to develop cars in India, he said: “At present, HMIL engineers are only playing a supporting role in HMC’s (Hyundai Motor Co) global development. But for HMIL not only to strengthen position in India but also to able to cater to similar markets, it is important for it to be able to develop cars on its own.”
Mr. Han, however, said such a programme is in the long term as the current capability and strength of the company’s research and development centre at Hyderabad is still much lower compared to the parent’s centre in Korea.
Started in 2009, HMIL’s R&D centre has been providing an active supporting role in adapting products for the Indian requirement on platforms developed by the parent, mainly in areas of safety features and design components.
For instance, in the upcoming Grand i10, which will be positioned between i20 and i10, the Indian engineers had modified the product to suit local market by incorporating rear AC vents and changing rear window design, among others.
Even in the case of the company’s entry level hatchback Eon, India-specific inputs were given by HMIL engineers. Now the company is looking to scale up beyond the supporting role.
“For that to happen,” Han said, “the current R&D capability of out Hyderabad centre has to be enhanced. Compared to HMC’s centre in Korea, it is very small.”
He said another important reason behind such a thought process is the significance of Indian market.
“After China, India is HMC’s second biggest market. We need to have a strong presence here,” said Han, who is also the senior executive director (sales and marketing) of HMIL.
The company is stepping up competition to market leader Maruti Suzuki India. With the new Grand i10, it is looking to take on Swift, which has been the most successful premium hatchback model in India, and Ford Figo among others.
The Grand i10 will come with two engine variants – 1.1 litre diesel and 1.2 litre petrol. It will be launched in September.