Suzuki Motor Corp. better be prepared as Hyundai Motor Co. makes its move in India with a campaign for its new hatchback that aims to unseat Suzuki’s dominance in the country. Hyundai, which is on track to be the most profitable Asian automaker this year, started sales of the Eon last Thursday. The model was recently introduced during a press conference in New Delhi. Hyundai said that this is priced lower than its cheapest model, the Santro that costs 280,897 rupee ($5,700).
India’s top-selling car, the Alto compact from Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., has a starting price of 235,413 rupees in New Delhi. Hyundai, headed by chairman Chung Mong-Koo, has taken away some of the global market share from Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. as Japanese automakers suffer from the stronger yen plus the impact of the March 11 earthquake on its supply and output.
Maruti Suzuki’s share in India has been dropping due to competition as well as the delay in production due to a labor strike. Deepesh Rathore, the head of IHS Automotive, said that the Eon will be Maruti’s “biggest headache.”
Compacts and mini-cars make up over 75% of total passenger-car sales in India for the year ended March 31, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. About 43% of the Indian passenger-car market for the last six months ended September consists of Maruti vehicles while Hyundai units make up 20%. [source: Autonews]