It has been long since Hyundai’s CUV Casper made headlines in the country. We have already covered the topic a couple of times in the past. However, Casper was not launched in India due to reasons only known to the company. Now we have a confirmed news that the South Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai is all set to launch its entry level SUV that could rival the likes of Tata Punch, Citroen C3, Renault Kiger, and Nissan Magnite. The New SUV, codenamed Ai3 CUV, will sit below Venue, the compact SUV model and it will go on sale next year. Here’s what we know about the new compact SUV.
Positioning of Hyundai Ai3 CUV
Hyundai is bringing out the new SUV by positioning it as a Compact Utility Vehicle (CUV). While there is no standard classification like that in the automobile parlance, it is an innovation by the Korean giant, much like the invention of the term XUV by Mahindra. It is expected to be slightly larger than Casper. It is to be noted that Casper is on sale across other international markets. The Ai3 CUV has been on the talks from before the pandemic itself, with the company planning on making the vehicle back in 2019.
Engine and Powertrain of Ai3 CUV
The Ai3 CUV is likely to get the same 1.2-litre petrol powertrain as the Grand i10 Nios and Aura. This 1197cc engine is good enough for 83hp. Whether there will be a CNG variant coming with the variant is yet to be decided by the company. As for transmission, the engine will be paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Expected on Road Price & Launch Date of Ai3 CUV in India
There has been no official announcement about the price of the new CUV. But it is likely that Hyundai will pit it against Tata Punch, at a price tag of ₹ 5 to 9 Lakhs. The rivalry between Tata & Hyundai is already a talking point in the Indian automobile market. The home-grown Indian giant doesn’t shy away from competition and always pulls the legs of the Korean giant. Even as the absolute numbers of both the companies are no match for each other, Tata has successfully portrayed the image that it is actually in competition with the market leader. It will be interesting to see how the rivalry will go in this segment, where Tata Punch clearly is the best-selling vehicle.
Tata has launched Punch for the festival season last year and we can expect Hyundai to do the same and enjoy the free run for the first few months. So, you can expect to see the Ai3 CUV on roads by next November at the latest.
Hyundai’s Plan to Manufacture & Commitment to Deliver
Sources say Hyundai is planning to produce close to 50,000 units of the new CUV, per year. The company has also invested about ₹1470 crores to expand its production capacity from 7.7 lakhs to 8.5 lakhs units.
This huge confidence in the model may be due to the consumer preference to the compact SUVs. Entry-level SUVs are selling about 20,000 units a month. This includes models such as Tata Punch, Renault Kiger, Nissan Magnite and Citroen C3. Hyundai hopes to cash in on this segment like the way it did in the sedan class with its Verna and Elantra.
So, what do you think? Will the Ai3 CUV be the Tata Punch killer in the Indian market? Can the Korean company get the tables turned? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.