It was one of the best selling cars of its times and it is set to make a solid comeback. Hyundai is set to unveil an all-new compact family car next year which is expected to be the return of the Santro.
Discontinued in 2014 the Santro, which had been in continuous production since 1998, will fill up a yawning gap between the entry model Eon and Grand i10. The Korean company phased out the i10 sometime ago.
A partially masked picture of a car has hit the internet, which a few say, could be that of the upcoming Hyundai Santro. This new car carries forward the tall-boy stance of the older model, complete with large windows and slightly bigger tyres. This indicates that engineers have worked to make the car spacious and comfortable.
The new car will be high on utility value and is expected to sport a frugal and fuel-efficient powertrain. To make it an attractive proposition Hyundai will most likely price it below Rs 4 lakh.
While the Korean car maker has remained extremely tight-lipped about the project its managing director, however, had stated earlier this year that a compact car featuring ‘family design concept’ will be launched in 2018.
The Santro brand enjoys a very strong following in the India market despite its total phase-out from the personal car segment. During its peak the Santro generated more than 60 percent of Hyundai’s volumes competing against Maruti Suzuki’s old warhorse and long-time rival Wagon R.
Wagon R has remained one of the top volume generators for Maruti despite being as old as the Santro. The Wagon R sells between 13,000-15,000 every month thus becoming the fourth largest seller for the company.
“The Santro brand is so strong that customers are still asking for the car even three years after it was phased out,” said a Hyundai dealer official.
The phase-out of the Santro began with a pull-out of the model from the personal buyer segment and later from the city taxi segment. The car was available in petrol and CNG versions though Hyundai was said to be working on a diesel version, too.
The Santro will be one of the eight new cars promised by Hyundai for India till 2020. Next year will also see the launch of the Ioniq hybrid followed by a sub-4 meter sports utility vehicle in 2019. The line-up also includes a fully electric car, too.