Hyundai to launch i20 this year

July 15th, 2008 - 4:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, July 15 (IANS) Sticking to ‘i’ series cars, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) will launch an i20 model later this year, a top company official said here Tuesday. “We plan to launch i20 for both domestic and export markets by the end of this year,” Heung Soo Lheem, HMIL managing director and chief executive, told the media after launching the new 1.2 litre Kappa engine that would power the latest i10 models.

Ranked as the fifth largest automotive group in the world, Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. intends to replace the Getz model with i20.

When asked about the company’s plans for another model, the i30, Lheem said: “It is a hatchback and may not be suitable for the Indian market.”

HMIL is also looking at a diesel Kappa engine option for small cars.

Hyundai has made India the hub for its small cars. All its plans are drawn taking into account the global situation and not just the Indian market.

Even the new Kappa engine will be shipped out to Hyundai’s global markets.

The 1.2-litre aluminium Kappa engine has been developed on an investment of $421 million over the past 48 months, and will be made at the company’s new $250 million engine and transmission plant that has a capacity of 250,000 unit per year, Lheem said.

The new engine weighs just 2.4 kilograms and emits 119g/km of carbon dioxide, the lowest in this class, said M. Inderjith, vice president, production.

“This Euro 5 ready engine has an efficient combustion process to get the best out of every fuel drop,” he added.

“Instead of a belt, the engine has a timing chain which makes it less noisy,” said B.K. Kim, chief engineer, Hyundai Korea.

With the new engine HMIL offers more options for a prospective i10 buyer including an automatic transmission variant.

Currently, the company sells 1.1 litre i10 with Epsilon engine.

“We want to have a product in every price point. While Santro will compete in the lower end in the compact car segment, the i10 will be in the higher end of the same segment,” said Arvind Saxena, sales and marketing senior vice president.

He said the demand for i10 is buoyant, selling 75,000 cars in India since its launch, and with an export order for 110,000 cars.

The Kappa engine will be fitted in three variants - Magna, Sportz and the Asta.

Meanwhile, HMIL’s plant near Chennai working now in two shifts intends to add the third shift by the end of this year, said Lheem.

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