Iconic return

Ammar Master, Senior Manager, Asia Pacific Vehicle Forecasts

25 October 2018

Hyundai Santro

Hyundai brings back the Santro in a new avatar

Hyundai’s journey in India has turned full circle with the return of the iconic Santro moniker. The original Santro marked the start of Hyundai’s innings in India in 1998, with its tallboy design, power steering and price tag winning the hearts and minds of buyers who, until then, had been loyal devotees of Maruti-Suzuki.

“It is a completely new vehicle”

The New Santro, however, should not be thought of as the next-generation of its predecessor. It is a completely new vehicle, built on Hyundai’s H-K Small 1 (K1) platform and designed to meet the needs of today’s buyers.

What is important is the name choice. By reviving the Santro moniker for its newest Mini Car, Hyundai is tapping into the strong resonance it has with Indian buyers. Another feature that has been carried over from the old Santro is its instantly identifiable tallboy shape.

Our view is that the New Santro will revitalise the Korean automaker’s Mini Car sales in India, which have been lacklustre of late. Volumes have suffered from the advanced age of the Eon (which the New Santro effectively replaces) and weaker demand for the Grand i10. The new model will also pose a serious threat to its segment rivals and may even encroach on some Sub-Compact Cars.

“The new model will also pose a serious threat to its segment rivals”

According to Hyundai, bookings have already exceeded 20,000 units within as little as a fortnight. This will prompt us to hike the outlook for the New Santro by a considerable margin as our original full-year forecast is clearly on the pessimistic side.

With that said, a degree of caution is essential as the overall Mini Car segment – including the New Santro – is at risk from the stricter safety and emissions norms that will come into force over the next couple of years.

For now, however, Hyundai will be aiming to gain as many buyers as possible with the New Santro.