Chennai: South Korean auto major Hyundai plans to launch an electric SUV in India next year as it prepares to test the country's EV market before going full throttle with local manufacturing for such vehicles, a top company executive said.
The company, which operates in India through a wholly-owned subsidiary, plans to bring the vehicle as a completely knocked down (CKD) unit.
"We will launch an electric SUV in the second half of 2019. We will import it as completely knocked down unit," Hyundai Motor India MD and CEO YK Koo said.
In the long term the company will produce EV models from its Chennai plant, he added.
Koo said the company's strategy for EVs is in line with the government's vision of making India an EV market by 2020.
However, he sought more liberal policies on taxation for the EV segment in the country.
When asked if the company could look at collaboration with Kia Motors for the vertical, Koo said: "Many items are required, so (with only) one party investment the cost is very high. So, if we find a good partner we can consider also."
Hyundai had showcased EV models Ioniq and Kona during the auto expo earlier this year in Delhi.
Koo said the company plans to launch eight new models in the country by 2020, including the electric SUV next year.
"Out of eight, two are new segment products, one electric SUV and other five full model changes to replace current vehicles," Koo said.
When asked about sales growth expectations for the current year, he said: "We are targeting at 8-10 per cent growth this year."
Last year the company had sold around 5.27 lakh units in the domestic market.
During the first half of the current year, the company has sold 2,75,136 units in the domestic market, a growth of 8.6 per cent over same period of 2017.
On production side, Koo said Hyundai aims to roll out 7 lakh units this year from its Chennai plant while next year it plans to enhance the production capacity to 7.5 lakh units per annum.
"This capacity would be enough for us till 2020. Some of the export markets are showing decline. So we can use that extra capacity for the domestic market," Koo said.
The company aims to achieve a cumulative production milestone of 10 million cars by first quarter of 2021.
When asked about company's plans for a new production facility in India, Koo said the company is yet to finalise any concrete plan on the matter.
"Till 2020 we can manage product volume and beyond 2020 depending on the market situation we will review the situation," he said.
When asked about exports, he said trend has changed in Asian markets with preference for CKD units over CBUs.
"We have already started exporting CKD units to Vietnam. By September we plan to start shipments to the Philippines. Our aim is to to export 50,000 units by next year end," Koo said.