Korean car brand Hyundai's all-new Santro will go on sale in a few hours. Positioned between the Eon and the Grand i10 the Santro will look to challenge the current segment leader Maruti Suzuki Wagon R followed by the Celerio and Tata Tiago. The company is yet to announce the price of the 'Sunshine' car.
Built and developed at a cost of $100 million over a period of three years at its research centre in Hyderabad and in Korea, the Santro boasts of several segment-first features.
The body of the Santro is built using the platform of the Grand i10, the fourth highest-selling hatchback in India. Rear air-conditioning vents, Hyundai-developed automatic gearbox option, airbags on all variants and the biggest touch screen display system (7 inch) are some of the segment-first features. Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki also offer automatics on their cars but the unit is not developed in-house.
Hyundai has also equipped the Santroâ€™s air-conditioning unit with â€˜Eco Coatingâ€™ technology that curbs unpleasant odour in the car. The car has reverse parking sensors in the upper variants and even a reverse camera on the top variant. The top-end variant of the Tiago also has these features.
The Santro will come in five variants including two with automatic manual transmission (AMT) option. Hyundai is also offering a CNG option along-side a 1.1 litre petrol-fired engine with a five speed gearbox. Hyundai claims a mileage of 20.3 km/litre on the Santro.
Hyundai says that the new petrol engine is compliant with Bharat StageÂ VI emission norms. With the norms slated to come into effect from April, 2020, the Santro will also be Hyundai's first car that is BS-VI compatible. Moreover, it will be made only in India and will be exported to other markets.
The rural and semi-rural markets will be major sources of buyers for the Santro, with Hyundai officials hoping that buyers from this segmentwill make up 50-60 percent of the total sales of the car.
Hyundai hopes to sell 8,000-10,000 units of the car in the domestic market every month and export an additional 2,500 units a month. The market in which the Santro is competing is 30,000-units-a-month market, with the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R alone accounting for half of that.
The original Santro was phased out in 2014 after a multi-year unhindered run that started in 1998. The car is also the first from Hyundai in India. The company decided to phase out the Santro despite clocking a life-long monthly sales average of 7,000 units.
Due to capacity constraints and to free-up production lines for more expensive models such as Elite i20 and Creta Hyundai had decided to halt Santroâ€™s production four years ago.