The Hyundai Motor Company was founded in Seoul, South Korea in 1967. Its main operational unit is based in Ulsan and being the world’s largest automobile manufacturing facility, is capable of producing over 1.5 million vehicles annually. The company has more than seventy-five thousand employees worldwide and has an established market presence in a hundred and ninety-three countries, with more than five thousand showrooms and dealerships.
They established their India chapter in the year 1996 and set up headquarters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The only primary players in the automotive manufacturing sector back then were Maruti-Suzuki, Hindustan Motors, Premier Automobiles, Tata Motors, Mahindra, Daewoo, Ford, Opel and Honda. Their strongest rival till date has been Maruti Suzuki India Limited which enjoyed almost complete control over the Indian passenger car market, at the time of Hyundai’s entry into it.
Their first-ever offering in the Indian market was an unconventional tall-boy hatchback, unlike whatever the country had seen. It was launched at the end of Q3 in 1998 and was a raging success. The only competitor that the Santro had was launched months later and was called WagonR. Had the WagonR been revealed by Maruti before the Santro came out, it would have acquired the market control entirely. Shortly after its launch, it became one of the largest selling cars in the country, and Hyundai became its second-largest manufacturer of automobiles and the largest passenger car exporter.
It was the impeccable timing of HMIL’s decision to introduce the Santro, that wrote their history in our country as we know it today. The company is owned in its entirety by the Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea. It currently has eleven models on offer in the Indian market ranging from small to premium hatchbacks like the Grand i10, Grand i10 Nios, Santro and Elitei20, compact to mid-sized sedans like the Xcent, Verna and Elantra, and compact, mid-sized and full-sized SUVs like Venue, Creta, Tucson and Santa-Fe, respectively.
The Xcent was introduced to the Indian market in 2014 and was pitted against the likes of Maruti Suzuki’s Swift Dzire (now Tour II), Honda Amaze and Tata Zest. Derivatively styled, with its front fascia mimicking the Grand i10, the Xcent was also sold as the Grand i10 Sedan in other countries. In the last five years of its commission, the Xcent has undergone two minor facelifts and gained more popularity among the Ola, Uber and chartered-taxi crowd than private-car buyers.
In June this year, the company announced that it would be pulling the plug on the Xcent’s sales in India. From 2020, the Xcent will be replaced by the Hyundai Aura as a passenger sedan and will only be sold as a fleet vehicle.
The Hyundai Aura compact sedan has just been unveiled and is based on the Grand i10 Nios hatchback. It will come with BSVI compliant options between 1-litre1-litre turbocharged petrol and diesel engines. The Nios also share the entry-level petrol engine as it was primarily upgraded to BSVI for the latter. The diesel variant is a 1.2-litre Ecotorq unit that comes equipped with a turbocharger and has a 30,000 psi fuel injection system. The engine is capable of producing 75 PS of power and 190 Nm of torque. The 1.2-litre petrol variant is naturally-aspirated and produces much less power at 83 PS and 113 Nm torque. The fun-variant however, borrows its motor from the Venue, which is a 1.0-litre KappaTurbo GDi and produces 100PS of power and 172 Nm of torque.
The transmission will be a standard-issue five-speed manual unit, and the 1.2-litre engines will get the option of an AMT. The Aura gets twin pairs of direction-arrow shaped DRL’s just on the right and left cheeks of its prominent honeycomb grille. The grille gets a peripheral finish in black plastic and matte-silver, and its lower section connects with the bumper under-lip. The headlights and foglamps are both equipped with projectors, and the taillights have LEDs. The car has blacked-out C-pillars to give its glass-line a wrapped-around-the-sides kind of a feeling.
The interior comes equipped with a wireless phone charger, and an all-time functioning rear-view camera, an eight-inch screen for the infotainment unit with navigation and an Arkamys surround sound system which can connect to smartphones via the Hyundai iBlue application. The Aura’s air conditioning vent gets an eco-friendly, germ-free deodouriser to prevent unpleasant smells from entering into the cabin.
The car will be sold with a comprehensive warranty with three options – three years and forty thousand kilometres, four years and fifty thousand kilometres and five years with one lakh kilometres. One can expect the Aura cost slightly more than the Xcent, which was available between INR 6 lacs and INR 9 lacs. Like the Xcent, the Aura will rival the new Dzire, the Tata Tigor, Honda Amaze and the Volkswagen Ameo.