The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This PagePrint This Page
Hyundai in search of SRK’s driving partner

Calcutta, Aug. 28: He’s been the face of the Santro since its launch in the country, single-handedly steering the ‘tall-boy’ through several zippy rides. But this time around, Shah Rukh Khan may have to share the honours with a dainty damsel.

Hyundai Motors India Limited (HMIL) has now decided to rope in a Bollywood heroine who will lend her face to a range of cars that will be launched in the coming months, along with Shah Rukh.

HMIL sources said the company is talking to three Bollywood beauties—Juhi Chawla, Kajol and Sonali Bendre—and a deal with one of them to partner the King Khan is likely to be signed in another 10 days.

When contacted, the official HMIL spokesperson said, “We are talking to some Bollywood heroines. Nothing can be said at this point of time.”

The irony, however, is that the actresses that the company is targeting to promote cars aimed at Generation X, are well past their prime. While Kajol has all but bid adieu to films, Juhi and Sonali are rarely seen on the big screen.

The new campaign will be rolled out within a month-and-a-half, before Diwali.

“It is Shah Rukh who acquainted Hyundai with the Indian customer and he has become the face of the company. Nobody knew about Hyundai before that. His presence in the promotional campaigns is extremely important,” HMIL officials added.

The wholly owned subsidiary of Korean car-maker Hyundai Motors has, with a little help from Shah Rukh, positioned the Santro as a complete family car, designed for space and versatility which gives “the top-of-the-world feeling”.

The company signed on Shah Rukh for the first time in 1998. “His contract has been renewed twice. We have signed him on for the third time recently, which is valid till 2004,” the official spokesperson said.

The company, whose account is handled by Saatchi & Saatchi, spends Rs 60 crore for the promotional campaigns.

Advertising industry officials feel the company should go in either for Kajol or Juhi Chawla since both of them have a better “chemistry” with Shah Rukh Khan.

But what is the rationale of using a female face in the campaign'

“New faces are being introduced to break the monotony, give a fresh look to the campaigns and add a dash of excitement,” a senior official of the leading advertising agency HTA.

Hyundai is getting ready to launch a slew of products that include the Terracan, a sports utility vehicle, a new version of Santro, the five-door Accent, Viva and Caren, a multi-utility vehicle.

Viva, a car built on the Accent, targeted at the younger consumers who not only go in for refined elegance but also stress on attitude, has just been rolled out.

The company has been able to sell 46,653 Santros, 11,863 Accents and 1,538 Sonatas between January to July.

HMIL has also decided to increase production capacity from 1,20,000 units to 1,50,000 units by the first quarter of 2003.

The main reason behind the expansion is to export one-third of the total production to the European market. Hyundai Motors, Korea, wants to make India its sourcing hub for Santros for the entire global market.

Email This PagePrint This Page