Hyundai Motor Company entered the Indian automobile market in 1996, the Hyundai brand was almost unknown throughout India. At the time, Maruti was the market leader with no competition. In September-1998, when Hyundai introduced Santro in India, it became a runaway success and second largest car manufacturer in India (even today).
Since the launch in 1998, the Santro hasn’t seen any major updates both to the design and features in the 15 years of its existence. The Santro was replaced in most markets by the Hyundai i10 in 2007, and now by Grand i10. But production continues in India, that too 3-generations of Santo simultaneously sold – Santro Xing, i10 and Grand i10 😛 .
Even now the Santro still continues to find buyers, it is getting a bit long in the tooth now and a replacement is long overdue. Now folks at AutoCarIndia report that Hyundai is studying the feasibility of launching the Kia Ray compact hatchback in India. As already known, Kia Motors is Hyundai’s sister company that sells cars in many global markets.
The Kia brand is not yet present in India. Currently, the Kia Ray hatchback is only sold in Korea. The Kia Ray, with its tall boy built, can be a perfect replacement for the tall boy Santro. The Kia Ray is available in Korea with a 998cc petrol engine, which has 105 bhp of max power. If Hyundai launches the Ray in India, it will most likely plonk the 1.2-litre Kappa engine.
Kia cars have been spotted testing in India earlier, which shows that Kia is likely to enter into the Indian market in the near future. Being sister brands, Hyundai and Kia are competitors, and if Hyundai launches the Ray in India under its own badge, Hyundai will have to pay a royalty to Kia upon its India entry. This would increase the car’s price.
Stay tuned to BharathAutos for more info on the Hyundai Santro replacement.