Rakesh Srivastava, VP Sales and Marketing for Hyundai Motor India Ltd. won the Best Digital Presence award at the Pitch CMO Summit recently. In an interview with exchange4media, he spoke about the challenges being faced by the automobile industry at the moment and future plans of Hyundai in India.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
How are the sales of Creta panning out?
We launched Creta in July last year and it was our extension into the SUV segment. Hyundai has represented India by ways of five compact cars and three sedan cars, so in addition to that we have the SUV called SantaFe. So Hyundai was entering into the mass market of compact SUV segment with Creta. When we entered into this market, we took a conscious decision that we wanted to create a SUV that was perfect. Creta was adjudged as a “perfect SUV.” It was a no compromise model in terms of space, feature, design or an overall package that it is. It was a product towards perfection.
Since July it has picked up one lac twenty thousand bookings till date and out of those we have already supplied fifty five thousand cars. And as demand increases we will continue to work towards increasing the production capacity so that our customers do not have to wait for too long. From the month of June, we aim to produce about ten thousand units for the domestic market and we also export Creta to the outside markets and currently which is approximately 1500 units and we look forward to sustain that.
How does it stand out in the market considering other latest launches in the same segment?
Today Creta is the largest sold SUV in the Indian market and was awarded ‘Indian Car of The Year’ for 2016’. Prior to that, Hyundai has also won two ‘Car of The Year’ awards for two successive years. For the first time in the automobile history of India a single manufacturer has won the award for three consecutive times. It is a testimony to the quality of products that we have and our unmatched insights into customer concerns. This helps us to create winners. We aim to create modern-premium products.
Above the price point of Rs 10 lakh, Creta is the highest sold vehicle in India. Earlier our products stretched from Rs 2.75 lakh to 30 lakh for SantaFe; about 98% of our volume was sold below Rs 10 lakh. But with the success of Creta that has changed today. We are also going to launch another SUV called Hyundai Tucson – a global SUV.
What were the March sales figures for Creta and for Hyundai?
We sold a total of 41,201 units in March and Creta sold 8,163 units.
SIAM (Society for Indian Automobile Manufacturers) recently slashed its FY17 outlook by almost half. Do you think this outlook might rattle the automobile sector?
Last financial year the growth of passenger vehicles in India was about 7.24%, and against that growth Hyundai had a growth of approximately 15% along with the market share of approximately 17.3%. At Hyundai we have been growing well and even the industry is doing well at about 7.24%. But this growth came in largely at the strength of new products and deep discounting. It is the highest growth in the last 5 years.
Recently we saw in the Union budget the government has increased the tax and brought in environment cess, which is in the range of 1-4%. Auto industry is price sensitive and auto customers are discerning buyers and this is a steep increase in taxation. With the increase in taxation and interest rate, this will definitely create challenges in terms of demand and with that we will see growth challenges.
Diesel vehicles at one point of time were contributing to 55% of the growth but with the latest Supreme Court order the contribution all over has come down to 45%. Plus the rural demand has also fallen, that is why SIAM has brought down the projected growth from 11-12% to 7-8%.
How would you describe Hyundai’s sales prospects over the next five years?
Our vision for Hyundai in India is to strengthen our market leadership position by ways of sustained growth, to realise the modern premium brand direction with our customers and be the most preferred car manufacturers among our customers.
What kind of marketing initiatives has Hyundai taken to promote the brand?
Recently we created a music anthem for the youth called “Drive Mein Junoon” and launched it digitally through YouTube and it has already crossed 7 million views in five days, which is first for anyone in the automobile industry. Furthermore we have been continuously working towards our engagement with customers through cricket with the ICC platform and recently we moved over to the BCCI platform, so for the next 4 years Hyundai will be the official car partner with BCCI. What we have observed is that people in India are passionate about cars, cricket and music and we have combined it all.