Hyundai Planning 1,000 Outlets in Rural India, New Affordable Model

Hyundai is actually India’s second largest automaker by sales, but the Korean company wants a further 1,000 rural outlets in the Asian market, plus a cheaper small model, after it began loosing market share to the more dynamic Ford and Volkswagen.

“We are looking strongly at these markets and want to focus on growing our network there,” Arvind Saxena, the carmaker’s India director for sales and marketing, said in an interview yesterday in New Delhi, according to Bloomberg.

No exact schedule for the expansion has been announced, but the company did say it is targeting regions that are normally ignored, as wealth starts to trickle down beyond urban areas in the world’s second-most populous nation.

During the last fiscal year, Hyundai did increase its sales figures in the country, but at only half the pace managed by Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota.

“Urban markets will be more and more difficult to grow so most automobile manufacturers will have to focus on rural markets,”
said Darius Lam, a Bangkok-based analyst with J.D. Power Asia Pacific. “It will be challenging, but significant for the company.”

The carmaker’s Indian director said a new model that is cheaper then INR293,902 ($6,576) is also on the way, meant to compete against Maruti Suzuki’s Alto, the nation’s best-seller. Two new models will reportedly be launched every year, with a new version of the Verna sedan being introduced at the event. Hyundai has no plans to build a model that will compete with Tata Motors Nano, Saxena said.

For the 2011 fiscal year, Hyundai expects to sell some 400,000 cars, which is 14 percent more than the 358,904 in the year ended March, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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