| Hyundai Motors India president B.V. R. Subbu at the launch of the 2.7-litre sedan Sonata V6 in New Delhi on Wednesday. A Telegraph picture
New Delhi, Oct. 23: Hyundai Motors India Limited today launched its top-of-the-line sedan Sonata V6, its second variant in the series in the last 15 months.
The 2.7 litre Delta V6 car which runs on a diesel engine is expected to compete with the Honda Accord, Ford Mondeo and the Toyota Camry.
The other two variants of Sonata already present in the market, Sonata GLS and Sonata Gold run on 2-litre 4-cylinder Sirius-II engines.
The Sonata V6 is priced at Rs 16.4 lakh (ex-showroom Calcutta). It will retail at Rs 15.9 lakh in Delhi, Rs 16.13 lakh in Mumbai and Rs 16 lakh in Chennai.
“It is the first car in the sub Rs 20 lakh segment to feature the state-of-the-art V6 technology in India,” said Hyundai Motors India president B.V.R. Subbu. None of its competitors—Mondeo, Camry or the Accord—have a V6 engine; the only one with it is the Mercedes E-class which is priced at over Rs 32 lakh.
Sonata has a length of 4,747 mm, width of 1,820 mm, height of 1,422 mm, wheel base of 2,700 mm and ground clearance of 177 mm. The car has an electronic multi point injection for fuel efficiency and a 4-speed H-matic automatic transmission.
The front suspension has a independent double wishbone with coil spring and stabiliser bar. Also, the rear suspension has a fully independent multi-link with stabiliser bar and gas-pressured shock absorbers.
Sonata Gold, Hyundai’s last launch of the Sonata model, was priced at Rs 13.1 lakh in Delhi which is Rs 2.8 lakh lower than Sonata V6. Its closest competitor Mondeo is a 2-litre direct injection (D torque DI) priced at Rs 16.8 lakh.
Honda’s Accord, another competitor to Sonata is a 2.3 litre 4 -cylinder V TEC engine priced at Rs 16.5 lakh. Toyota’s latest launch Camry is a 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine priced at Rs 18.45 lakh for its top end model V3 and Rs 17.95 lakh for its V1 model.
The only cosmetic change incorporated are the horizontal grills which have been replaced by vertical grills present in the earlier two models. The car also has a power seating arrangement for seat adjustments.
Speaking about the sales target of Sonata, Subbu added, “We expect to sell 2000 units by mid-November though we had set this target for the whole year.”
“Presently the level of indigenisation of Sonata is 50 per cent but we will cross this target soon,” he added. Hyundai has already sold 1,803 Sonata units by September-end.
At present, Hyundai exports cars to six main regions — Algeria, Morocco, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Subbu said, “After the year 2004, we hope to export to other European countries. We hope to cross our export targets for this year by 25 per cent at least since last year”.
“Car sales will see bigger growth in the year 2003 and much voluminous growth in 2004,” he added.
Hyundai is also looking at the possibility of extending its current 3-year warranty on Santro to 4 years, said Subbu. Hyundai is also undertaking a market research before launching its small car Getz. The study is expected to be complete by February 2003. “Getz will have a 70 per cent indigenisation level,” said Subbu.