Hyundai, the South Korean automobile manufacturer, teaming up with Nishat Group is all set to establish a vehicle assembly plant in Pakistan. They recently got approval from the Ministry of Industry and Production to set up units for assembly and manufacturing of vehicles under the Greenfield investment category.
Norez Abdullah, CFO of Hyundai-Nishat Motor Limited revealed in an interview that the company had attempted to enter the automotive market back in 2012, but the policy wasn’t much favorable at that time.
Hyundai-Nishat wanted to introduce hybrid cars in Pakistan, but considering the huge cost of installing such infrastructure, they might instead start with launching an 800cc or 1000cc vehicle.
According to Norez, the company is already conducting several surveys to decide which car to launch, but the economics of both these segments vary drastically from each other. Where the 800cc segment will appeal more to emerging middle-class and produce minimal profit margins for the company, the 1000cc category is likely to be the polar opposite, he said.
Although the company hasn’t mentioned the names of the vehicles that are being considered to be introduced in Pakistan, the likely options are the 800cc Hyundai Eon and the 1000cc Hyundai i10.
The Eon is the entry-level model in the Hyundai lineup. The small car was developed specifically for Indian market and is positioned below the Hyundai i10. The Eon is Hyundai’s answer to Maruti Alto, as it continues to improve market share in small car and hatchback segments.
The Eon is based on Hyundai’s fluidic design philosophy and is arguably the best looking entry-level model in India. The small car competes well with the Maruti Alto 800 and the Alto K10 with eight variants.
The Eon is powered by 800cc 3-cylinder petrol engine that develops 55bhp and 75Nm of torque. While the basic version is absolutely stripped to base essentials, the top-end variant has a decent features list that also includes driver-side airbag.
The price of Eon in India starts from INR 3.32 lac (PKR 5.29 lac) for the base variant and goes up to INR 4.33 lac (PKR 6.9 lac) for the fully loaded version.
Hyundai Grand i10
Launched back in 2013, the Hyundai Grand i10 become the highest selling Hyundai car in India. It also managed to surpass the sales of Suzuki Swift for a brief period.
The i10 gets the 1197cc Kappa engine that develops 81bhp of power and 114Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic gearbox.
The Grand i10 has received a facelift in 2017 and gets a fresh look with the restyled front and rear bumpers. The headlamps have been tweaked slightly and it now gets LED DRLs, though only available on the higher trims. The interior is done in beige and black and looks premium. The i10 is decently spacious and gets AC vents for the rear passengers as well.
In terms of safety, it gets engine immobilizer, central locking and parking sensors. Driver airbag is standard while the higher variants get dual front airbags, while ABS is restricted to the top-spec version only.
The Grand i10 is priced between INR 4.63 lac (PKR 7.37 lac) and INR 6.89 lac (PKR 10.98 lac).
Although it’s too early to predict what’s going to be introduced here and at what price, the above impressive options does show us the potential of Hyundai’s modern hatchbacks. The South Korean manufacturer has come a long way since we experienced the Santro during the previous decade, and their current portfolio competes well with established Japanese players in competition driven markets.
The introduction of more options in the 1000cc & below segment, will definitely act as a breath of fresh air in the low-budget segment of the market.