The Indian automotive industry is one of the largest in the world and definitely the fastest growing, and we now have almost all the top automobile manufacturers selling their products in India and this in turn means that, the Indian consumer is spoilt for choice and there is a plethora of options available to buyers. India is also a market where some products have a very long showroom life, because the demand never goes down for such products, products like the Mahindra Scorpio continue to sell in great numbers even after a decade of its launch, and this totally depends on perception of the consumers and the quality of the product. This phenomena is a very good thing as it builds up the manufacturer’s reputation, but sometimes it slows down progress, as the manufacturer hesitates to launch an upgrade to a product, just because of the fact that it is selling well, and sometimes they launch the next gen product too, and sell both old and new generations of the same product simultaneously, and to those who are unaware, this may be a bit shocking.
The Skoda Laura, when launched was actually the next-gen Skoda Octavia, but was badged as the Laura because of strong demand for the Octavia, and both were sold together. The Chevrolet Beat is actually the next-gen Chevrolet Spark and the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 is actually the next-gen Alto K10. Hyundai took this trend to extremes by selling three generations of hatchbacks under the same roof, at the same time, because the i10 was actually the Santro replacement, and the Grand i10 is actually the next-gen i10 and has replaced the i10 in international markets, and now Hyundai seems to be looking forward to doing something on similar lines with the i20 too.
The next-gen Hyundai 120 has been spotted multiple times while undergoing camouflaged testing in Europe, where it was developed at Hyundai’s new facility at the Nurburgring, as well as in India because they wanted to tune the car to Indian conditions as well before its launch. India is a very important market for Hyundai, which is one of the top three manufacturers in the country right now, and India also is Hyundai’s export hub, and Hyundai will not hesitate to launch the best of its cars here, but Hyundai will also consider the condition of the market, and in this case, the current-gen i20 is very competent and sales numbers are increasing, whereas in the European market, the next-gen i20 was badly needed as sales figures were dwindling.
A combination of all these factors may lead to Hyundai launching the next-gen i20 as a seperate, more premium hatchback in its product portfolio instead of replacing the current-gen i20 which is doing very well indeed, and they aren’t stupid enough to replace a car that’s already doing well.
The boffins at Hyundai India feel that, the Indian market is now mature enough for a more premium hatchback, and hence will position the next-gen i20 at a premium above the current-gen i20. The next-gen i20 might be named as the Grand i20, and will come with many changes, new first-in-class features and re-tuned engines. The next-gen i20 will also feature many aesthetic improvements over the current-gen i20 with more mature, sculpted and toned looks. The next-gen i20 is expected to be launched around October this year.
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Source – MotorBeam
Image Credit – Wheelosphere