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Old 17th December 2014, 14:17   #1
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Default Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

Earlier this year we had reported that Hyundai was planning to discontinue the Santro hatchback in India. The sharp dip in its sales figures in November 2014 has indicated that the company is indeed planning to phase the car out.

The Santro had become popular with black-and-yellow taxi drivers in Mumbai, with 20,000-25,000 drivers migrating to it from the old Premier Padmini. With the car on its way out, Hyundai has announced that it plans to introduce the i10 hatchback in the taxi markets of Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata in the coming weeks.

Hyundai is planning to offer the i10 taxi model with a CNG option, where the CNG kit will be retro-fitted in the car and not factory-fitted. The taxi variant will also be stripped of features such as power steering and air-conditioning.

The introduction of the i10 as a taxi comes at a time when Mumbai is gearing up to issue 7,843 taxi permits over the next 6 months.

Other players rumoured to be trying to get into the taxi market include Maruti Suzuki with the Ritz and Tata Motors with the Indica.

Source: Economic Times
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Old 17th December 2014, 14:34   #2
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

Nice. I'm sure taxi customers will appreciate the more modern design & excellent interior quality. Not sure about taxi owners though...the i10 will definitely be priced higher than the Santro.

Speaking of which, I'm extremely surprised at the Santro's demise. Here was a car consistently selling 4,000 units month after month with zero advertising. But well, Hyundai is probably rejigging its entry-level portfolio. Too much overlap between the Eon, Santro & ol' 10.
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Old 17th December 2014, 14:43   #3
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

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Last edited by GTO : 17th December 2014 at 15:10.
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Old 17th December 2014, 17:48   #4
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

I think they will be coming out with a stripped down version with dark interiors, a la Dzire tour. It could be a success because pricing could be much lower (at least 20-30K lower) than the current base variant, which would bring it within the Santro territory. Only concern could be the longevity and maintenance costs compared to Santro under heavy use.

Last edited by GTO : 18th December 2014 at 15:54. Reason: Typo
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Old 17th December 2014, 18:04   #5
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

The problem, if any of you have flagged down a Santro taxi in Mumbai, is this, it is cramped. I mean, even the Premier taxis felt like they had more space.

The ideal car for a taxi, especially when it comes to sharing, is the Wagon R. The headspace and the leg space at the back is good for commute, it's got better boot space even with the LPG tank. And the A/C works better.

The Santro taxis are like the dukkar fiats of old, does anyone remember those? :-)
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Old 17th December 2014, 18:15   #6
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

After the launch of the Grand i10, HMIL is only selling the older i10 with the 1.1l engine that powers the Santro too. It will be a safe bet that most of the mechanicals are identical to the Santro and this might just be the comforting factor the cabbies need as the Santro is already very well accepted by the cabbies especially in Mumbai. So, in most probabilities the i10 will be just as good if not better in longevity and friendliness to abuse. HMIL will definitely strip the car to its bones (i10 D'lite) and should manage to price it at par with the Santro. Also, I guess retrofitting the CNG kit will allow keeping the ex-showroom price low resulting in lower taxes.
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Old 17th December 2014, 20:42   #7
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taffy View Post

The ideal car for a taxi, especially when it comes to sharing, is the Wagon R. The headspace and the leg space at the back is good for commute, it's got better boot space even with the LPG tank. And the A/C works better.
Yes, got to agree on that. (am a WagonR owner, so biased)

But if i am right, there is some rule saying that Mumbai taxis should have 4 pot engines.
Aimed at 800 and Alto, but inevitably put out the blue eyed WagonR out of the taxi scene
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Old 17th December 2014, 21:56   #8
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

I have my own reservations, rather, opinions for i10 being available in taxi market.
Santro was one of better built Hyundai small cars at that price point. i10 does not feel that well built. Santro, for eg, has a bumper which can take a few hits without getting dislodged, but same cannot be said for i10. The front bumper of Santro is sturdier unit than i10 ( may be for tough pedestrian norms in EU ). For me, Santro remains a sturdier option to i10. Maintenance and spare part cost of components like headlights, ORVM ( which are likely to take a hit ), bumper, tail light also play a role here. Note that I am not talking about chassis strength, but the external panel build which might take more than a bit of wear and tear in Indian operating conditions.

Also, Santro had better seats due to its "tall boy" nature. This gave Santro an edge over i10 in terms of seat comfort and even space. Ride quality of both Santro and i10 at rear remains bumpy.

Though a bit opposite to general feel, IMO, Santro should continue and i10 must get discontinued. Santro might be old, but its not very dated platform from safety point of view. There are older platforms still on sale in India. i10 is a name people still or used to associate with a high quality car and that same image is carried forward with Grand i10. What I am trying to imply is that i10 is a brand which should not be tricked into taxi market. Santro is proven in taxi market and is not a brand as strong as i10 for private ownership. Very few names enjoy success in both private and commercial ownership segments. Innova is a nice example of this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Speaking of which, I'm extremely surprised at the Santro's demise. Here was a car consistently selling 4,000 units month after month with zero advertising. But well, Hyundai is probably rejigging its entry-level portfolio. Too much overlap between the Eon, Santro & ol' 10.
A very valid point. Santro was still selling reasonably well despite arrival Eon at entry level. Santro should continue IMO too. i10 must get discontinued, Eon slotted below Grand i10. Hyundai should have reconsidered bringing i10 tag to taxi segment.

Last edited by aaggoswami : 17th December 2014 at 22:02.
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Old 17th December 2014, 22:56   #9
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

I'm not sure how many customers would like the back seat of an i10, when the alternates are Ritz and Indica, both of which are among the best rear seats in the segment.

Santro's back seat was just okayish but the lower tag justified it. I'm sceptical about how many cab drivers would go after i10 ignoring Maruti and Tata options.
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Old 17th December 2014, 22:59   #10
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

Thats news. These days owners tend to undervalue the brand equity of a car gets relegated for use as taxis. The Tata Sumo, Toyota Qualis, Chevrolet Tavera and lately the Tata Indica and Indigo have earned their coveted places in the taxi trade. To add to this llist are the Renault Logan / Mahindra Verito, Toyota Etios and the Swift Tour.

Hence private car buyers potentially looking for individual ownership look down upon such four wheelers in many cases and their buying decisions are thus influenced.

The i 10 is presently out of the Top Twenty best selling car list and its place has been taken by the new i 10 Grand - the top selling car for HMIL. Hence fewer buyers are opting for the i 10 and HMIL's decision may have been influenced by this factor.

The older days were different. We had the Ford Prefect, the Hillman Minx, the Standard 10/ Pennant, Chevrolet Fleetmaster, Fiat Elegant/ 1100 /President/ Padmini both as taxis and as private cars. The owners did not mind the double role for the brand.

The case of the good old Ambassador is unique. It has been the most successful taxi EVER in India's automobile history. It won the "Best Taxi in the World" title by BBC Top Gear recently in 2013:



Ambassadors have been comfortable in the ambience of a seven star hotel, South or North Blocks or even as taxis in a remote village.

But the perception of today's car buyers is not like those in the earlier times. Let us all now wait for the i 10 with the yellow and black coat.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 17th December 2014 at 23:09.
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Old 17th December 2014, 23:54   #11
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

Although I10 has better interiors than a Santro, I would still rate Santro as a more comfortable car than i10. i10 back seat is not to everyone's liking. Ritz and Indica can definitely be better options but i guess it might all boil down to the pricing and image. Taxi owners might pick up i10 over the Ritz i guess.
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Old 18th December 2014, 08:07   #12
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

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Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Yes, got to agree on that. (am a WagonR owner, so biased)

But if i am right, there is some rule saying that Mumbai taxis should have 4 pot engines.
Aimed at 800 and Alto, but inevitably put out the blue eyed WagonR out of the taxi scene

Well DicKy, we had a Wagon R in the family too for many years, coming right after a Sumo it was a whole change , enjoyed it for many years :-)

Well about the engine rule, they run the Ecco (that's the one from Maruti, correct me if I am wrong) which is your 6-7 seater for share at rush hour points and has a near 1200 cc engine. Would you know if that falls under the same purview? :-)
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Old 18th December 2014, 08:36   #13
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

I have a doubt regarding i10 in the Taxi segment.

Would the i10 tag not tarnish the image of Grand i10 as well ?
The association of i10 in Grand with Co-relate to that of the taxi version i10.

Dzire Tour was made available only when the existing Dzire( >4m) went off and was replaced by the (<4m) Dzire.
Also the Tour is only sold to Taxi segment /commercial segment, while i10 (though a strip down version) will cater to both the customers and the taxi segment.
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Old 18th December 2014, 08:48   #14
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Smile Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

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Originally Posted by skyrocket003 View Post
Although I10 has better interiors than a Santro, I would still rate Santro as a more comfortable car than i10. i10 back seat is not to everyone's liking. Ritz and Indica can definitely be better options but i guess it might all boil down to the pricing and image. Taxi owners might pick up i10 over the Ritz i guess.
The Indica is very spacious, I have one. And even in the hilly areas of North India they are able to give comfortable rides because of the ample passenger space. They have a near 1200 cc engine and have some serious low gear pull on slopes (provided of course you don't have the A/C on). given the start-stop nature of traffic on city roads this helps (even with the A/C). Plus the boot space is better and for station taxis it is superb because it can take the load on the rack on top.

I always call the Indica the SUV of India :-)

Don't know if a lot of you have experience the petrol variant, it is quiet and efficient without the slight vibrations that the diesel variants have, plus the smell of fumes is also missing.

Now a CNG / LPG version would be perfect for city taxis. The cost would be lower than that of diesel variants. And it will remind us of the might Ambi (for all those ole school types like me). :-)

Have a safe drive today.
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Old 18th December 2014, 12:13   #15
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Default Re: Hyundai to replace Santro with i10 in taxi markets

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Originally Posted by Taffy View Post
Well about the engine rule, they run the Ecco (that's the one from Maruti, correct me if I am wrong) which is your 6-7 seater for share at rush hour points and has a near 1200 cc engine. Would you know if that falls under the same purview? :-)
I think Eeco engine is a downsized version of the G13BB engine, with modifications to bore/stroke to keep it under the 1200cc mark. From what I recollect, they still kept all 4 cylinders.
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