labels: automotive, hyundai motor india, passenger cars
Hyundai launches Sonata with an efficient V6 2.7-litre engine news
Mohini Bhatnagar
24 October 2002

New Delhi: Hyundai Motors India has launched a new, more powerful version of the Sonata, its premium luxury car, equipped with an efficient V6 2.7-litre engine, at an estimated ex-showroom price of around Rs 16 lakh to Rs 16.3 lakh.

Hyundai Motor India president B V R Subbu says the new Sonata comes with a 2.7-litre engine and is equipped with H-Matic transmission that allows the driver to choose between an automatic and a manual transmission mode.

Apart from this it has an eight-way power adjustable driver seat, dual front airbags, an electronic brake distribution system and an anti-lock braking system as standard fitment. It also has a new radiator grille and a dual collapsible steering column.

Thus, the new Sonata is the only brand other than the Honda Accord in the domestic market that is available with auto transmission in this segment though it will be the cheaper than the Japanese car, which is priced at about Rs 17 lakh.

Though the new model currently has a local content of less than 50 per cent, this would be brought up to the level for the existing 2.0-litre Sonata in the next few months, says Subbu. The Sonata 2.7V6 will be rolled out across top 67 dealerships out of its dealership network of 107.

The existing model of the Sonata with manual transmission is steered by a 2-litre engine. It is priced in the range of Rs 11.90 lakh to Rs 13.5 lakh and is the most economical model among the luxury cars.

Sources say one of the purposes of introducing the new Sonata with a more powerful engine is to combat the impression that the product is underpowered, as compared to rival offerings from Honda, Ford and now Toyota.

This is the second high-profile launch in the D segment of cars in very recent times as Toyota Kirloskar Motor launched the Toyota Camry just last week. Also General Motors plans to introduce the Opel Vectra in the next few months.

Hyundai Motor claims to have grabbed a market share of 50 per cent in the D segment as during the April to September period of 2002, it sold 859 units of the Sonata, while Honda sold 586 units of the Accord and Ford sold 306 units of the Mondeo.

Among the super luxury cars, only the Ford Mondeo has a diesel variant and the Toyota Camry, rolled out last week, has two petrol variants but with manual transmission. Hyundai officials say the company has invested Rs 60 crore in the Sonata project (towards assembly line in Chennai) and that no additional investments were made in developing the Sonata 2.7 litre V6, which at Rs 15.9 lakh (in Delhi) is around Rs 3 lakh more expensive than the Sonata.

To support the launch, Hyundai will soon unveil a new television commercial aimed at consolidating the Sonata’s market-share of 50 per cent in the D segment. The new Sonata’s positioning phrase is ‘A New Dimension in Luxury,’ while the basic Sonata is positioned as ‘Rediscover Luxury.’

Also the company is expanding privileges under ‘Imperial Exclusive,’ a customer reward programme for Sonata owners. So, besides offering preferential services at Hyundai dealerships, the company plans to develop linkages with the hospitality sector so to offer best deals to Sonata owners.

Also, in order to associate the Sonata with royal heritage, the company is planning to develop new properties around opera and western classical events. Sonata has also been linked with sports like polo (Maharaja Sir Pratap Singh Cup) and golf.

Since its launch in July 2001, the Sonata has sold over 3,000 units, including 1,803 units during January-September 2002. The brand (including the new variant launch) is expected to surpass sales of 2,000 units by mid-November 2002.

Hyundai officials say the Terracan, a sports-utility-vehicle, will be launched in the second half of January 2003. Meanwhile, market studies for the Getz, the company’s small car, were still on and would be completed by February, according to Subbu. Hyundai Motor India is expected to post a turnover of Rs 4,000 crore in 2002-03 - up from Rs 3,700 crore in 2001-02.

 

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Hyundai launches Sonata with an efficient V6 2.7-litre engine