Hyundai Motor is considering producing the small sports utility vehicle (SUV) “Venue” in India prior to Korea. The Venue is smaller than the Kona, a subcompact SUV that will be launched this year.
It is very unusual to produce a completely new model at an overseas factory, except for strategic models developed exclusively for overseas markets. Industry analysts see it reflecting Hyundai Motor’s focus on India.
Hyundai Motor iss planning to produce 70,000 units of a new model (project name: QXi) in its Indian plant beginning in mid-April, industry sources said on March 24. The QXi is an Indian version of the QX that Hyundai will launch in Korea in the second half of 2019.
Hyundai Motor officially named the QX “the Venue” earlier this year. The Venue will fill the vacuum created by Hyundai's discontinuation of the compact car Accent. In Korea, the model will be produced 90,000 units a year at the Ulsan plant. By doing so, Hyundai Motor will have a full SUV lineup that will consist of the Venue (mini), the Kona (subcompact), the Tucson (compact), the Santa Fe (midsize) and the Palisade (large).
Hyundai Motor’s decision to produce the Venue in India means that it will focus more on the Indian market rather than the Korean market. In particular, India is a small car-oriented market. In India, Hyundai Motor is already selling a variety of small strategic cars that do not sell in Korea such as the i10 and the i20.
Hyundai Motor had renewed its annual sales record for five consecutive years in India until last year. Its sales volume in 2018 increased 4.3 percent from 2017 to 550,000 units. As a result, its sales topped 500,000 units for the third consecutive year.
Hyundai Motor started mass production of its cars at its Chennai plant in India in September 1998. In 2018, its market share stood at 16.3 percent, the second highest in India. The carmaker exported 160,000 cars produced in its plant in India, coming in first among automakers producing cars in India.
For the success of the Venue, Hyundai Motor plans to set up a product lineup to suit local conditions like other strategic cars. In Korea, Hyundai Motor is considering loading a 1.0-liter turbo engine and a 1.6-liter diesel engine into the Venue. But in India, the carmaker is considering loading the Venue with a 1.0-liter turbo engine and a 1.4-liter engine. The company is also reportedly planning to expand its eco-friendly car lineup.