Hyundai, the Korean car company, has been a constant, quiet performer in India. Except that in the last few years, Hyundai has missed a trick or two. While the company was busy building and selling the Maruti Suzuki Alto competitor (read: Eon) and Honda City competitor (read: Verna), its rivals figured out two pretty big opportunities in the market—the sub-4-metre sedan and the compact sports utility vehicle. Hyundai did not have any offerings in these segments till now. But just like its peers Tata Motors, Honda and Ford, Hyundai too has jumped onto the sub-4-metre bandwagon. Earlier today, the company launched the Xcent, a sedan based on the Grand i10.
And, what’s with the X? Well, Hyundai says it stands for the ‘X factor’, which in turn stands for a young India. Hyundai India’s MD BS Seo said that the car is aimed at the Indian customer who “is aspirational and seeker of higher values”. To fulfil that, the car will have Hyundai’s fluidic design style.
The Xcent will go on sale next month. The car will be available in both petrol and diesel variants and also with manual or automatic transmission. The engine options will be similar to what’s there on the Grand i10 already.
Amit Dhaundiyal, head of product planning at Hyundai said, “We intend to replicate the success which we have had with the Verna in the low mid sedan segment with the Xcent.”
Now, what’s with the ‘4 metre’ number? There seems to be a gold rush for this segment. Let me explain. A car under 4 metres attracts an excise duty of 12 percent, while a car measuring more than 4 metres attracts a duty of 24 percent. So a hatchback with a boot is a win-win idea: The customer gets a boot without paying a big premium for a “what looks like a sedan”. And for the manufacturer, who has already spent big dollars on building the hatchback, adding a boot is far cheaper than adding a whole tailgate for a sedan. But the premium that the manufacturer can charge on this “what looks like a sedan” (compared to a hatchback) is pretty high. So that’s good money.
Here’s a quick lesson in understanding the sub-4-metre sedan category: