Diesel four-wheelers are not going to vanish from the market at least in the next five years, said Tarun Garg, Chief Operating Officer, Hyundai Motor India.
He was speaking to Mobility Outlook on the sidelines of the launch of the sixth generation Verna in Delhi on Tuesday. Garg said the Korean carmaker was seeing sustained strong demand for diesel powertrains in the SUV segment.
For instance, in the case of the Tucson, over 70% of the units sold are diesel-driven. Likewise, for the Alcazar and Venue, the share of diesel powertrains is 60% and 20% respectively.
This traction, however, does not extend to the sedan segment where “demand for diesel is continuously coming down”. Garg said customers in this space are prioritising performance while in SUVs, they prefer initial torque which a diesel powertrain can fulfil.
The sixth generation Verna, starting at INR 10.90 lakh, ex-showroom, comes with a 1.5L naturally aspirated petrol engine and a 1.5L turbo petrol unit, replacing the diesel option from the outgoing model.
According to Garg, the turbo petrol is an appropriate replacement for the diesel powertrain as the new engine delivers 160 ps of power and 243 Nm of torque with mileage of 20.6 kmpl in the DCT form and 20 kmpl in manual.
While the fuel efficiency is not that high as the outgoing 1.5L diesel, the turbo petrol units are still more efficient and powerful. Nearly 30% of the 8,000 bookings for the new Verna are for the turbo petrol unit, said Garg.
“We have a very clear strategy that every model should have at least two fuel options,” he added. In sedans, the company offers NA petrol units and turbo petrol units with some offerings. Similarly, petrol and CNG are available as options in other models. SUVs will continue with petrol and diesel for a while.
Hyundai is also testing out its turbo petrol units on its SUVs. It recently launched the 1.5L turbo petrol with the facelift variant of the Alcazar. Likewise, it is betting big on the 1.0L turbo petrol unit in the Venue. “We will gauge the response for the Alcazar’s turbo petrol before deciding our next step,” said Garg.
Even as SUVs are leading the surge both in India and globally, it is not as if sedans are on their way out with CY22 data showing that the numbers in India have grown by over 40% to 406,000 units. “I think there is a lot of space in the Indian market for every segment and Indians have always aspired for a sedan,” he explained. This is borne out by the heady market response to the Skoda Slavia and VW Virtus.
With the new Verna, Hyundai is confident that the segment will see more growth with the model expected to garner twice as much sales as its predecessor. In 2022, around 41% of Verna customers were below 30 years while for the Creata it was 20%.
With younger customers now onboard, there is more demand for stylish exteriors, cabin comfort along with safety and connected features.
“With Verna, we have tried to take even the Elantra segment customers. The wheelbase is much closer to the Elantra and the kind of features we have introduced are also closer to that segment. So we believe this car will really elevate customer experience,” added Garg.
Dealerships are also going through a makeover to meet market expectations with their manpower being trained both in terms of product and software skills. “I think the new Verna is a technological marvel and it will draw many customers,” he said.
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