Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice-president (sales & marketing), HMIL, said, "There is a positive momentum building up in the market which will show results in a couple of months. The last few products we have launched have given us a strong push in sales. We have got over 100,000 enquiries for the XCent and have an order book of 11,000 units for the model."
Interestingly consumers, who a few months ago were lining up to drive home diesel variants, have shown an increased preference for petrol options of the XCent. Around 52 per cent of the bookings have been made for the petrol-powered option, the rest being for the diesel-driven XCent. The waiting period on the model, depending on the variant, now stands up to two months.
Hyundai triggered a price war in the entry-level sedan segment with the launch of Hyundai XCent tagged between Rs 4.66 lakh and Rs 7.38 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) on March 12. The entry-price of the base variant of the XCent around Rs 19,000 lower than the comparable variant of segment leader Maruti Suzuki DZire, which is priced at Rs 4.85 lakh. The petrol driven versions of the Xcent comes for between Rs 4.66 lakhand 7.19 lakh, while the diesel versions are tagged between Rs 5.56 lakh and Rs 7.38 lakh.
The XCent, which is based on the Grand i10 platform is available in two engine options - 1.2 litre Kappa Dual VTVT petrol engine and 1.1 litre advanced second generation U2 CRDi diesel engine.
Hyundai is also offering two petrol-powered automatic transmissions options of the XCent priced at Rs 6.28 lakh and Rs 7.19 lakh. Apart from Maruti Suzuki DZire and Honda Amaze, Hyundai XCent will take on Tata Motors' entry-sedan Zest, which is scheduled for launch in the second half of 2014.
"With the Xcent, we have entered one of the fastest growing segments in the Indian car market. Last year (2013), the compact sedan segment grew by 28.5 per cent at about 24,000 units a month. We want to be asignificant player in this segment," added Srivastava,
The new sub-4m sedan XCent has localization levels of around 90 per cent, which has helped Hyundai to price the car aggressively to take on rivals.
According to industry estimates, Maruti Suzuki DZire with average monthly sales of 16,500 units accounts for 68 percent share in the sub-4metre sedan market. Honda Amaze comes a distant second with share of 20.6 per cent, followed by Tata Indigo CS with 10.3 per cent.
The Xcent is Hyundai's fourth offering in the sedan segment after Elantra, Sonata and Verna. The new sedan qualifies for the excise duty benefit, enjoyed by small cars in India and has enabled Hyundai to price the car aggressively in the Indian market.
At present, any car with a petrol engine capacity under 1,200 cc or diesel engine under 1,500 cc, but length shorter than four metres, attracts an excise duty of eight per cent. Bigger vehicles attract excise duties of 20 and 24 per cent.
With the launch of the XCent, Hyundai is hoping for a positive sales growth this year after witnessing an overall decline of 1.2 per cent at 633,000 units in 2013. The company has total production capacity of 675,000 units per annum at its facility in Chennai and aims to utilise it fully in the current financial year. While the company is focussing on the Indian market, it also plans to export the Xcent in due course of time.