Hyundai may abandon hybrid vehicle plans for India

A Hyundai showroom in Noida.

South Korean auto major Hyundai may cancel plans to introduce hybrid vehicles in India due to lack of government support, according to a top official of the company’s subsidiary here.

Hyundai Motors India Ltd (HMIL), the company’s arm, had earlier this year said that it planned to launch its hybrid model Ioniq at the Auto Expo 2018, besides unveiling mild-hybrid compact cars and SUVs.

It has now cancelled plans to showcase the Ioniq at the auto expo next year. Instead, it has started focusing on electric vehicles.

“There is no support for hybrid…I think we might postpone and cancel hybrid products in Indian market,” HMIL Managing Director & CEO YK Koo told reporters here.

Under the GST regime, hybrid vehicles have been taxed the same as big petrol and diesel luxury cars attracting 28 per cent rate with a cess of 15 per cent.

The tax incidence on hybrid vehicles have gone up to 43 per cent from the previous effective tax rate of 30.3 per cent. The government has hinted that it would not review the new rate.

In the earlier tax system, hybrid vehicles had attracted excise duty of 12.5 per cent, similar to entry-level small cars such as Tata Nano or Maruti Alto.

Stating that the focus for HMIL is now on electric vehicles, Koo said a plan is already under consideration on which electric vehicles models are to be brought, and not hybrids, to India.

“We have electric and hybrid. We have all kinds of technologies. So, we are planning to consider electric vehicles,” he said.

Koo further said: “We have cancelled Ioniq showcase, which was to happen during the next year’s auto show.”

Commenting on plans for the company’s mid-range SUV Tucson, he said there is a plan to introduce a four-wheel drive variant of the vehicle in August or September.

On the planned compact SUV, Koo said the launch is expected to happen in the first quarter of 2020.

The company today unveiled its all-new mid-sized sedan Verna, which is slated to be launched later this month in the domestic market.

Koo said HMIL is targetting to sell up to 5,000 units a month of the new Verna. Sales of the existing version of the model has dropped to around 700 units a month.

The company will also export the new Verna in small numbers initially this year and scale up significantly from next year, he added.