Nearly 20 years after it launched the car that helped it become the second largest carmaker in India, Hyundai Motor has brought back the Santro in an all-new avatar.
On Tuesday, the South Korean carmaker took the covers off its newest small car: Santro. Although it is a completely new car, right from the platform to the exterior design, nostalgia was running high as the country’s biggest movie star, Shah Rukh Khan, returned as the brand ambassador. Back in 1998, in an attempt to break the near-monopoly held by Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai had roped in a young and upcoming Shah Rukh Khan as the brand ambassador for the Santro. His association with Hyundai has remained intact over the past 20 years.
“The all-new Santro is a true example of Hyundai’s Made-in-India philosophy and a shining result of our numerous product clinics and rigorous durability test on various terrains in India. Our R&D Centre in Nanyang (S. Korea), Chennai, and Hyderabad have put strong efforts for product supremacy and utmost customer delight,” said Y K Koo, managing director and CEO of Hyundai Motor India.
Hyundai will be betting on recreating the success globally it had with the earlier Santro, which was built in India; 1.86 million units were sold across the world. The company has already received 23,500 bookings for the new Santro since dealerships opened the bookings 13 days ago. The company has invested over $100 million to develop the all-new Santro over the past three years. With a localisation level of 90%, the new Santro sticks to made-in-India DNA of the earlier car.
Like the earlier car, the new Santro will be the most affordable car from the Hyundai stable. With prices starting at ₹3.89 lakh (ex-showroom), the new Santro will compete with the likes of Maruti Suzuki’s WagonR, Celerio and Tata Motors’ Tiago. The segment typically witnesses sales of more than 30,000 units a month. While ₹3.89 lakh is the price of the lowest variant, higher variants with more features will be priced up to ₹5.64 lakh.
The car will be available in three engine and transmission options: the 1.1 litre petrol engine with a five speed manual transmission, the 1.1 litre CNG engine with a five speed manual transmission, and the 1.1 litre petrol engine with an automatic transmission.
In terms of features the new Santro will be available in five trim levels – D-Lite, Era, Magna, Sportz, and Asta. The automatic transmission will only be available in the Magna and Sportz variants.
The earlier Santro and its various refreshes sold from 1998 to December 2014, when Hyundai Motors stopped its production. Many people fondly remember the car for bringing in brand new technologies and features such as power steering, power windows, and a revolutionary tall boy design for such small cars.
The new Santro, too, will bring many features which are segment firsts. For example, the new Santro is equipped with features like rear AC vents, a 7 inch touchscreen audio-video system, voice recognition, smartphone connectivity with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, rear parking camera, and impact sensing auto door-unlock.