Shreyas Kulkarni

Hyundai looks to cement SUV supremacy with a new Venue

The new model of Hyundai Venue, which was first launched in 2019, is aimed at millennials and Gen Zs says Virat Khullar, group head, marketing.

The newly launched Hyundai Venue is the South Korean carmaker’s biggest launch in India this year (2022). The updated model makes its appearance three years after Venue first hit the Indian roads in 2019.

Hyundai claims an updated model is important because of its position as the leader of the sports utility vehicle (SUV) category in India since 2020.

Hyundai first made its entry in the SUV segment with the Creta in June 2015. In addition to it, the carmaker has Alcazar, Tuscon (upcoming) and Venue (2019), with the newest model taking the spot as Hyundai’s entry-level SUV.

The launch comes at a time when consumer preferences have moved towards utility vehicles (UVs), than small cars.

Crisil, an analytics company, said in a March 2022 report that the share of UVs in the overall domestic passenger vehicle (PV) segment increased to 48% in the first nine months of FY 2021-22, from 15% about two decades ago (FY 2001-02). On the other hand, the share of small cars declined from 65% in FY 2011-12 to 45% in the first nine months of FY 2021-22.

The report also said that amid COVID safety concerns, aspirational buyers have opting for a UV, rather than a sedan or a hatchback, as it offers better off-roading capability.

What is new?

Virat Khullar, group head, marketing, Hyundai Motor India, says the millennials and Gen Zs, the target group for this model, are “asking for more features, and not looking at basic mobility.”

The car is being positioned as a model that personifies the lit life. Khullar says, “There is a lot of comeback tourism, shopping, eating out.” So, this positioning makes sense.

An AV system with 10 languages, including Korean, the ability to communicate to the car from your home via Alexa and Google Voice assistant, Sounds of Nature letting you play ambient noise, whilst driving, 60-plus connectivity features, among other things. Hyundai claims it is the most connected car in the segment.

On the gender ownership pattern, Khullar reveals, that female ownership stands at 12%, when it comes to Hyundai cars. While women influenced, say, car colours earlier, today, they have more of an influence, say, in terms of the car parts needed in a particular model.

Marketing an SUV to those under-40

Hyundai decided to release seven pint-sized clips, each detailing a noteworthy feature of the car, before releasing a regular-sized ad. Innocean Worldwide, the carmaker’s creative agency on record, is behind all the clips.

It will also use influencers to build top-of-mind recall. Consumers will also see the campaign on OTT platforms, with impact buys, and run of the day (RODP) buys, i.e., an ad gets equally distributed throughout the day. Havas Media is Hyundai India’s media agency. The campaign will appear on television too.

Hyundai is also a partner with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Khullar says the new Venue will appear on the ground during the two remaining T20 matches of the ongoing India versus South Africa series, in Rajkot and Bengaluru. The man of the series will receive the car as a reward.

Sales dip?

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) reported the total sales of four-wheelers, two-wheelers, three-wheelers and quadricycles in India declined by over 23%, from over 13 lakh units in February 2022, as compared to over 17 lakh units in February 2021.

With inflationary pressures hurting consumer pockets, this must worry automobile owners. Khullar disagrees and reveals there is a “6-7-month waiting period for all Hyundai car models.” The only major issue the South Korean carmaker faces is the pending bookings of 1.3 lakh units because of semiconductor shortage issues.

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