BY NEETA NAIR
Hyundai Motor India, India’s second largest automaker (as per Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) data, completes 20 years of manufacturing in the country this year. “2018 has been a great year for the brand,” says Puneet Anand, Senior General Manager and Group Head, Marketing, Hyundai Motor India. He elaborates, “We have crossed quite a few milestones - be it getting the highest-ever score on customer satisfaction by any manufacturer till date, as per JD Power rankings, or bagging the highest number of awards in its VDS – Vehicle Dependability Study. Moreover, Hyundai Motor India’s brand power grew from 77% in 2016 to 80% in 2017, and we are the only company which has had five winning products at the Indian Car of the Year Awards – in 2008 it was the i10, in 2014 it was the Grand i10, in 2015 it was the Elite i20, in 2016 it was the Creta, and now in 2018 it is the Verna.”
For Anand, who has been with the Korean company ever since it entered India in the late 1990s, Hyundai’s growth has pretty much been synonymous with his own. Having joined as a young engineer, he went on to set up the company’s first CRM system around the time of the BPO boom in the country, then did his MBA in Korea while on a deputation and came back to India to create a new department called Service Marketing (Hyundai Service), which has since been generating impressive revenue for the brand. He also set up Hyundai’s own insurance arm called Hyundai Assurance, a first in the category back then.
According to Anand, “Last year, Hyundai closed at more than half a million sales-- 5,20,000. This year, our target is to better that volume and grow to 5,60,000 in domestic sales. And with exports put together, that number should touch approximately 700,000 cars this year. Each and every product which we produce in the calendar year is being sold either in the domestic or export market, whereas in the case of our competitors, their productivity is around 60-70%.”
The first big success for the company was the launch of Santro, which went on to become India’s most loved car brand for 16 years. Hyundai also holds the distinction for exporting cars within a year of initiating manufacturing in 1999. Talking about the highpoints of Hyundai’s India journey, Anand says, “We were the first company to bring MPFI technology to India through Santro; the first to provide power steering in a small car; and also the first to rope in Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan. In 1998, Shah Rukh was not a hero or a star, but we knew that he had the capability of becoming one. His association with Hyundai also completes 20 years, this year.” The brand’s marketing expenditure has increased by 20% this year, while Digital has gone up by 30%.
Of the future he says, “Now that we have come to the 20th year of our operations in India, we also need to look at the next 20 years, because we are a very futuristic organization. We have already announced that Hyundai will be the first company to launch a full-blown electric vehicle in 2019, a year before our competitors. We are a multi-national company which looks at India as one of the key operating destinations. In fact, Hyundai’s biggest plant outside of Korea, is in India. India overtook Europe as a market last year. Now we are contributing almost 15.5% to the global volumes of Hyundai Motor Company. People here consider Hyundai an Indian conglomerate, not Korean.
If we wanted we could have also got an easy entry into India by acquiring some company, but we didn't opt for that.''