At a time when the industry is battling slowdown in economy and is undergoing transition to BSVI vehicles, Seon Seob Kim, MD & CEO of Hyundai Motor India Ltd, told The Indian Express that there may be slow recovery for the industry beginning second half of this year. While the company already has its EV rolled out in the market, he said that Hyundai may introduce its mass market EV over the next 2-3 years and that their EV vision is in line with that of the government.
When do you see the industry witnessing an uptick in sales?
On the retail side we are seeing weak demand for the industry. For some companies, on the wholesale side there has been growth but it has been because they have delivered BSVI vehicles.
We expect in the first half of the year, growth for the industry to remain flat. However, beginning the second half, we may slowly start to get back to normal growth path. We also expect good sales volume for ourselves in second half, following some launches and facelifts in our product line.
What is your plan for electric cars in India?
Currently, we are selling Kona EV and our mass market EV will be introduced maybe within 2-3 years. Looking at the current market situation, in terms of market demand, size, segment and infrastructure situation, I think our mass market EV timing will be right. In the meantime, if necessary, we can think about some additional options as we have more global EV products that are sold in other markets and if necessary we can think about them as options.
In the meantime we are trying to set up some alliance or strong collaboration with some energy companies to secure charging infrastructure, not only for Hyundai customers but also for the public and the fleet. Our focus mainly is private customers but government’s plan is more focussed on fleet customers so we are looking at how to co-operate and move forward.
Are you apprehensive about the progress on electric vehicles?
In our case, we are contacting a lot of local suppliers because if we have to introduce affordable and competitive electric vehicle, the localisation will be critical factor. It is early stage as of now for all the OEMs. We are preparing on various barriers because localisation of critical EV parts is important for sustainable business platform.
Is it a too early for battery electric vehicle (BEV) when the supporting infrastructure is not ready?
Hyundai might be one of the few OEMs which prepares all kinds of electric options — hybrid, plug-in-hybrid, battery EV and fuel cell vehicle (FCV). There might be some transition in the medium term but Hyundai’s position is that we will strongly focus on EVs and Fuel Cell. The fundamental solution to emissions is electrification of vehicle. While it is the direction we are working on, it is also the thinking of the Indian government. From a long-term perspective, BEV and FCV are the major focus areas for Hyundai.