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Hyundai speeds up Europe export plan

Chennai, Oct. 10: Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) will start exporting Santro and Accent cars to Europe from the second half of the next financial year in a strategy devised by its Korean parent to make India a global export hub.

Addressing a press conference here today, HMIL president B. V. R. Subbu said: “It is our parent’s strategy to start exporting cars to Europe from the later half of the next year. We are beefing up production at our Tamil Nadu factory not only to meet domestic demand but higher export obligations as well.”

HMIL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Company, a part of the Hyundai Motor Group comprising Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors and Mobis; the group has a combined turnover of over $ 31 billion.

This year, HMIL expects 8,200 cars to be exported, 80 per cent of which would be Santros and the rest Accents. Its key overseas markets of Indonesia, Algeria and Morocco are expected to help the firm achieve its target of shipping out 17,000 cars.

HMIL, Subbu said, has invested $ 700 million in its factory near Chennai so far, and intends to pump in another $350 million to increase the present capacity of 1.2 lakh cars per annum to 2.5 lakh in a phased manner over four years. It also plans to launch Terracan, the test-marketing of which has already kicked off.

A new-generation diesel variant of Accent was launched today with a new engine that combines the performance of a petrol version with the fuel efficiency of a diesel car.

Managing director J. I. Kim said the engine was developed by Hyundai Motor Company and US’ Detroit Diesel. The technology does away with noise, vibrations, poor drive quality and particle pollutants —common problems associated with conventional diesel engines.

The ex-showroom price of the new model is Rs 7.23 lakh in Chennai and Bangalore, Rs 7.24 lakh in Delhi, Rs 7.58 lakh in Mumbai and Rs 7.34 lakh in Calcutta. The company expects to sell 400 of these every month. “The numbers will gradually go upwards,” Subbu said.

Kim said since its launch, the Accent has evolved as a popular mid-sized sedan, offering incredible value on the one hand and catching popular imagination with sporty Viva and Tornado on the other; 870 Viva cars have rolled out of showrooms since its launch a few months back.

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