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Hyundai Motor rolls out 1-millionth car

Our Bureau

To launch two new models every year


The first million: Mr H.S. Lheem (right), Managing Director, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, and Mr B.V.R. Subbu, President, at the rollout of its one millionth car from the Chennai plant on Monday. - Bijoy Ghosh

Chennai , March 13

Around 12.15 p.m. today, a red Santro Xing XO decorated with balloons rolled off Hyundai Motor India's assembly line to thunderous cheers from the gathering that included a large number of employees and component suppliers.

With Mr B.V.R. Subbu, President, at the wheel and Mr Heung Soo Lheem, Managing Director, waving to the gathering from inside the car, the company was celebrating the roll-out of the one-millionth car from its plant near Chennai.

Addressing the gathering at the assembly line, Mr Lheem made it a point to mention that Hyundai Motor India had achieved this milestone within 90 months of starting production.

Both Mr Lheem and Mr Subbu highlighted that this was a significant achievement for the company.

New diesel engine

Answering questions, Mr Lheem said the Korean parent was working on a new diesel engine, which the Indian subsidiary would introduce as soon as possible. (It may be recalled that Detroit Diesel, a DaimlerChrysler company, is working on a 1.1 litre common rail diesel engine for Hyundai. It is likely that this engine may be introduced in the best-selling Santro or the Getz.) Company officials were, however, noncommittal on whether this would be introduced in the country.

More models

Mr Lheem said the company would launch the successor to the Accent with new design and new powertrain in September while a diesel variant of the luxury sedan Sonata would be introduced by the end of the year. The company hopes to launch two new models every year. At present, the company exports the Santro and Accent, and is working on exporting another model, which he did not name.

Eyes 20% market share

He said the company had started a third shift from last week, with which it is confident of producing 3,00,000 cars this year. It hopes to increase its market share to 20 per cent, from around 18 per cent now. Work on the second plant is in full swing and is expected to be completed by October 2007. The second plant would have a capacity of 3,00,000, taking the total capacity to 6,00,000 vehicles. By that time, Hyundai Motor India expects exports to account for 50 per cent of production. The company would invest $500 million (about Rs 2,200 crore) on the expansion while its suppliers would invest another $100 million (Rs 450 crore). Some more of Hyundai's Korean suppliers are expected to set up plants here.

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