India can become biggest market for Hyundai globally in near future: HMIL CEO

India can become biggest market for Hyundai globally in near future: HMIL CEO

New Delhi, Nov 17 (PTI) India can become the biggest market for South Korean auto major Hyundai globally in the near future with demand for automobiles expected to remain strong, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) MD and CEO Unsoo Kim said on Friday.

HMIL accounts for 18.6 per cent (in the January-September period) of the South Korean automaker's global volumes.

It expects to breach the 20 per cent mark in the next 2-3 years. It is in the third position after the US and South Korean markets.

'We are currently number three after the US and Korea and we aim to be number one in the near future,' Kim told reporters here.

HMIL's contribution to Hyundai global sales stood at 15.6 per cent in 2019.

Elaborating on the domestic market, the automaker noted that it expects to close the current year with 6 lakh units, its highest ever yearly sales volume in the country so far beating the previous best of 5.5 lakh units posted last year.

The company is also looking at ending 2023 with its highest-ever total annual sales of about 7.6 lakh units, up from previous best of 7.1 lakh units recorded last year.

On the the company's sales outlook in 2024, Kim said the automaker remains confident of a positive performance despite various ongoing geo-political issues, including the Russia-Ukraine and the Israel-Gaza conflicts.

Kim said the automaker is working towards enhancing its cumulative annual production capacity to 10 lakh units from the current capacity of 8.2 lakh units.

'The company is actively working towards achieving its goal of a cumulative yearly production capacity of 1 million units. We plan on achieving this through capacity optimisation at our Sriperumbudur plant and capacity addition through our upcoming Talegaon plant, where production is scheduled to commence from 2025,' he said.

He said India is moving towards an EV revolution and the company plans on investing Rs 20,000 crore strategically towards building an EV ecosystem in the country.

The company is setting up an EV battery manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu with an initial capacity of 50,000 units per annum, which can be scaled up to 1.2 lakh units per year over a period of 3-4 years.  In line with the Government of India's push towards electrification, Hyundai is developing a grid of 100-plus fast EV-chargers across Tamil Nadu, adding to the existing grid of such chargers established at strategic locations along the Indian highway network.

'We have already augmented charging infrastructure at dealerships. Most importantly, the company is also developing a hub for next generation EV batteries through the upcoming battery pack assembly facility in Tamil Nadu,' Kim said.

HMIL COO Tarun Garg noted that SUVs were playing a big role in the company's sales volume in the country.

'We are going to end the year with the SUV range accounting for 60 per cent of the sales. The industry percentage would probably be around 50 per cent,' he said.

He noted that more and more charging infrastructure is being created to bring in more EVs into the market.  The company has sold over 1,000 units of Ioniq 5 in the country so far, Garg said. PTI MSS RKL TRB

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