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Old 15th November 2014, 01:52   #1
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Default Hyundai to end Santro production

Well this is a shock I must admit. The story was carried on the front page of times of India, Delhi edition, 14 Nov. At first i didnt quite believe what i was reading. That santro had probably outlived its utility and how it was gradually surrounded by better models has been well debated, but the very fact that it was one car with a timeless appeal across generations brings a little sadness to the heart. That solid design, tall boy stance, well built and well proportioned, solid fuel economy, option of factory fitted cng / lpg, made for a brilliant overall package.

On a more personal note, I always did find santro the best among all other cars in that price range, guess having owned one for the last 11 years brings in some bias one may say. This is one vehicle which had truly given me that confidence even at the worst terrains and in pathetic conditions so many times during these 11 years. Seems rather incredible. I can't help but feel little nostalgic with all the fond memories of driving it all those years. I personally feel the model had couple of more years left to be taken off production. Well at the end of the day its a business decision, hence can't criticize that too much.

While at that, I also feel that perhaps Hyundai could've given the car a couple of more facelifts than it actually got. Perhaps it should have received the same attention Hyundai gave to other mass selling models. Well, nothing we could do about that now I guess. Adiós dear santro.

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Old 15th November 2014, 02:23   #2
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

We have a 2006 June Santro XO at home and the car has just clocked 55000 Km. The car is the primary commute of my Father and it is in top shape.

I always loved the car for what all it offered.We chose the Santro over Zen for the space and the quality of interiors.

Its currently on its second set of tire's and I should admit that it has been a very affordable car to maintain.The service costs averaged around Rs 4500 and touch wood it is still brilliantly running on the original suspension , clutch and thankfully no major issues till date.

The car recently went in for a regular service and Hyundai was kind enough to give it a complete upholstery treatment along with Interior shampoo free of cost and threw in some freebies as part of an event going on this month at their service centers.

I hope Hyundai continues to provide the same level of service and supply the spares for the Santro going forward as well , as there are thousands on our roads which are still in excellent shape and are capable to run the same way for many more years to come.

Hyundai to end Santro production-dsc01433.jpg

Cheers,
pdma.

Last edited by pdma : 15th November 2014 at 02:33.
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Old 15th November 2014, 08:40   #3
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

This had to happen for 2 reasons:
1. Old i10 has taken over the slot that Santro used to fill once Grand i10 was launched. So there was heavy overlap between Santro and the old i10, both of which are successful models.
2. Santro and Accent were the only cars in Hyundai stable which didn't adhere to their fluidic design language. Santro was the only anomaly once Xcent replaced the Accent.

That said, we were waiting for Santro production to end since quite some time and hence we'll never know till it actually happens.
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Old 15th November 2014, 08:43   #4
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

That is indeed an end of an era for Hyundai as well as the Indian automotive scene. I have always applauded Hyundai for the fact that it took India seriously when others were testing the waters with inferior and outdated products - that has made it the second largest manufacturer in India, the biggest exporter. And it all started with this wonderful (if ugly initially) car.

I still remember in 1998 when we went to see this car on display. It didnt look that good - In fact many stayed away from buying it due to that reason. But it was the best quality vehicle an upper middle class family could have at that time. period. I still remember how the big dealers did not take up a Hyundai dealership back then, and in my city, I think it was a Kinetic honda dealer who took it up!

Anyway, another iconic car after the M800 to be discontinued. Hope Hyundai does not give up on India and continues to bring in new models and produce them here.
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Old 15th November 2014, 10:13   #5
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

Nostalgia times
I have a 1999 Santro. Even though I later purchased a Corolla (2006), the Santro is still very much used by the family and in pristine condition (leave aside the low power for that 1000 cc vehicle - the earlier ones were not very powerful), its pretty handy for the sundry tasks.
Its served its purpose well and is going strong. The cars were built pretty well given they've lasted well for close to 15 years now and with no major issues.
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Old 15th November 2014, 10:17   #6
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

I still don't believe this. Hyundai has been vehemently denying this, and unless Hyundai has some grand plans which people aren't aware of, discontinuing a model contributing 10% of monthly volume after all these years and with little to no promotion, doesn't make much business sense.
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Old 15th November 2014, 10:50   #7
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

Santro still sells. It is almost 3K per month and for a 15 year old model, without any promotion, that is a feat.

Its a cash cow for Hyundai and on many occasions, it matches the Old i10.

Doesn't make business sense to retire the Santro.

Would be better to give better interiors, some minor external upgrades and let in continue till it dies a natural death!!
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Old 15th November 2014, 11:03   #8
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

Well, the saga continues. Cannibalization of a product line, though many may find it hard to digest, is at times the start of implementation of a winning strategy. I am not trying to second guess the wisdom of executives who see Santro as an end of life product. We saw Toyota did the same to Qualis to push Innova. In Hyundai's case, in all fairness, Santro may well be at the end of its product lifecycle, hence the decision now. In my OP I stated that this may be a sound business case, that there are many worthy alternatives out there, that these alternatives may today offer higher equipment levels hence higher VFM, but the value and trust Santro has built over the last 16 years and which it still carries today for most of the owners will be definitely hard to replace.
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Old 15th November 2014, 12:03   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnabchak View Post
Santro still sells. It is almost 3K per month and for a 15 year old model, without any promotion, that is a feat.

Its a cash cow for Hyundai and on many occasions, it matches the Old i10.

Doesn't make business sense to retire the Santro.

Would be better to give better interiors, some minor external upgrades and let in continue till it dies a natural death!!
And what is a natural death? declining sales, unserviceable cars, incompetent next to its other competitor models? I am sure that Hyundai can rename the i10 or any other small car in its stable as the Santro and it will do just fine. But the name and sentiment it will carry will mostly be dangerous to continue as a brand. Example, Zen..the Estilo was hated from the start mostly because it was no longer a.. Zen.

Hope they either find a worthy successor to carry the name or just kill it.
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Old 15th November 2014, 12:18   #10
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

A sudden death for a fine car!. Could have continued with it for some more time IMO.

I own a 1999 Santro. It was taken delivery in Nov/Dec 1999 i think and it is still with me and in good condition. Though it is used more often by my mom we all take to it whenever required. Actually I was getting ready to renew the registration. We had discussed about this in the evening and next day the papers say - it's the end of the road for Santro. Anyhow will re-register the vehicle and continue to drive.

I still remember that I had got body colors painted to the ORVM, Grille etc- though the top end, it was lacking these So I had got them done. Liked the look of the car. Had spent nearly 1L on accessories for it in 1999.

Nostalgia.
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Old 15th November 2014, 12:26   #11
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

Quote:
Originally Posted by i10 View Post
I still don't believe this. Hyundai has been vehemently denying this, and unless Hyundai has some grand plans which people aren't aware of, discontinuing a model contributing 10% of monthly volume after all these years and with little to no promotion, doesn't make much business sense.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnabchak View Post
Doesn't make business sense to retire the Santro.
Discontinuing an ageing model that still sells can be thought of as something similar to why people sell of their car when huge workshop bills are round the corner. The car might run now without issues, but they might end up having to invest heavily in the foreseeable future to keep it running. That final cost might never be recovered.

There are a lot of parts in the assembly line that might be nearing the end of its usable life like the dies. Considering that Santro's chassis and body panels didn't get any updates in the last 10+ years, it is very much likely that they are still using the old dies and might be nearing end-of-life. It is a huge cost to replace these and might take several years to recover that cost. If they are about to reach the stage where they need to replace these to continue production, it might be better to discontinue the model instead of investing in the old dies again.

In case of Maruti and Hyundai, they have a huge brand loyalty among their consumers and hence a model being discontinued would only mean their potential consumers would switch to an alternate models in their line up. I don't think Hyundai would lose much on the overall numbers if they discontinue Santro- at least 50% of it would go to old i10 and around 25% to Eon. Rest might probably be lost but that is not a huge number to justify the additional cost they might have to invest in the Santro's assembly line.
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Old 15th November 2014, 13:05   #12
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

In my mind - the best product overall from Hyundai in terms of value of money, fun to drive factor, space (esp. headroom), reliability, quirky design (breath of fresh air from the Marutis in the 90s) - plus a four cylinder engine! And not to forget 'Zip drive' - which made power steering a popular & desirable feature in hatchbacks.

Even after the launch of the then (2008/9) new & popular i10, I still recommended Santro to my sister and a few colleagues, and no one has regretted the decision. The constant cosmetic updates, enhanced the looks in every iteration.
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Old 15th November 2014, 13:54   #13
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

It might have been a good car in 1990s but in modern India we should be glad to see such lower end vehicles phased out. Slowly but surely Indians are moving to bigger and safer higher segment cars which is online with the country's economic progress. I am not advocating giant SUVs but mid size safer cars with better safety features. No doubt there are many people who can't afford slightly higher end vehicles but there are many educated middle class people driving old, tiny, unsafe vehicles even when they can afford better ones and for their sake I would be happy if the lower end cars in India get upgraded to at least the Grand i10 category.This is step in that direction from Hyundai.
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Old 15th November 2014, 15:10   #14
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Default Re: Hyundai to end Santro production

Eon .8L and 1L, alongwith i10 1.1L should effectively cover the gap left by Santro.

I tend to go with the school of thought that the tools and dies of Santro production line are nearing end of life, and does not make financial sense for renewal.

Off late most of the new Santros I saw on road were LPG ones - Maybe we shall see a eon 1L CNG/LPG to cover for the same.
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Old 15th November 2014, 16:42   #15
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Thank you Hyundai. Now please, can we stop the i10 as well since the successor is already launched and doing well?
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