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In Conversation With Tarun Garg, Hyundai’s Director Of Sales And Marketing, About The Hyundai Alcazar


We catch up with Tarun to talk about the carmaker’s decisions behind the Alcazar

 

Hyundai has a new kid on the block, the Alcazar three-row SUV. What’s more, Hyundai has added an element of exclusivity by limiting the availability of the top-spec Signature variant to the Hyundai Signature dealerships. We caught up with Hyundai’s Director Of Sales And Marketing, Tarun Garg, on the decisions behind the Alcazar.

Kartikeya Singhee: I know I asked you this question when we spoke on the roundtable with regards to the signature outlets. We need a little bit more clarity because the Signature variant will be available only from the Signature outlets, right? 

Tarun: Yes, the Signature trim of the Alcazar will only be available at Signature outlets. Again, I'll give you a background. What we have seen over the past couple of years is that the customer is really changing. His digital interface is increasing, he's becoming younger, more and more millennials are also becoming our customers. A digital customer also requires a little bit of a different treatment you know.

So, what we are doing with this Signature outlet programme is that the dealer manpower is being specially trained to cater to these specific types of customers. Also, the emphasis is more on the softer skills, in addition to the technology and model type. We have just started this programme right now, with close to 180 outlets already being a part of it. Going forward, we want all our showrooms to become Signature outlets, but this is still Hyundai’s internal programme. As far as outward appearance is concerned, all showrooms are the same. 

KS: But if I'm a customer, how will I know? Like let's say, I only want the Signature trim, how will I know which dealership to go to?

Tarun: If you go on the website and select the Signature trim, only the Signature outlets will show up. Only Signature outlets have the authority to sell the Tucson, Elantra, and Alcazar signature trims.

 

KS: Is it fair to say that with the Alcazar, there's a push to create a more premium experience and a more premium sense around the product and maybe the Hyundai brand altogether -- not just the nomenclature? Even though your variant mix was a very interesting decision, did you have any hesitation about not having a lower variant in that sense? 

Tarun: In fact, I would say yes, absolutely. Customer experience goes leaps and bounds when we talk about the Alcazar and that is I think the expectation of the customers as well. When we did our research, I explained in detail during the press meeting that this customer does not want to compromise. We are seeing this in so many other products where the sales of the higher trims keep increasing. So, we did not want to really give a base trim in the Alcazar wherein the customer would have probably felt cheated. We believe every customer has a right to connectivity, a sunroof, 10.25-inch infotainment system, BlueLink connectivity, LED headlamps, and safety features whether it is hill assist control, vehicle stability management or ESC. 

The other important factor is that because this is a 6-seater/7-seater, we wanted to make sure all the occupants of the car have a great experience. If you see the captain seat, there's a wireless charger arrangement, a laptop/iPad table holder, and exclusive AC vents in the third row. So, basically the whole idea is the entire family can travel in comfort and style and in long distances, you don't feel that tiredness, I think that has been the objective. And, like I said, this customer demands no less. He is expecting a grand life, a grand product, and that is what we have tried to deliver.

KS: Do you see this primarily as an urban product? 

Tarun: Most definitely, yes, probably it will be the urban customers who will get excited and that is what we felt. At the same time, initial booking suggests very good demand, even from tier two and three cities. Of course, the primary market continues to be the top 30 cities, but that is the case with most products. 

At the same time, the surprising element is that all markets are showing an inclination. However, there is a little bit of a difference: In tier three and four markets, there's a much higher demand for diesel, manual trims, and seven-seaters. So, you know, it's a different kind of profile. However, in terms of volumes, we are seeing demand from all quarters of the country.

Raunak Awasthi: So how did you manage to keep the price difference between the petrol and diesel to a bare minimum?

Tarun: I think that's critical, and we always try to keep the prices in line with the expectations of the customers. We understand this is an evolving segment and it’s our responsibility to really build it, that is why we have gone a step ahead and tried to keep the prices attractive for customers. I believe this will give many customers the opportunity, even in the premium category, to show interest in the Alcazar. 

 

What’s happened is the SUV segment is going up and contributing 35% to the industry. Plus, Hyundai becoming the number one SUV-maker has thrown up a lot of opportunities. Besides, India is such a big country with demand from Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh which are very strong diesel markets. I believe these customers really want a diesel vehicle because for them fuel efficiency becomes imperative. And this time of course, like I said, we are getting a very good response from across India. So the pricing has been kept keeping the customers in mind, and I believe that will help more customers to come into our fold to get a premium experience at a very reasonable price, in both petrol and diesel combinations.

KS: What about the cost of the 1.4-litre turbo on the Creta and the 2.0-litre on the Elantra. What would be the price difference between the two? Would the 2.0-litre be more expensive?

Tarun: So look, there are very different mechanics behind them. It depends on localisation and so many other things. Of course, the 2.0-litre petrol on the Alcazar is a new engine, so there are many costs involved from that perspective. But it's not easy to answer this like, okay, what's the difference between the Creta’s 1.4-litre turbo and this 2.0-litre? 

RA: The Alcazar is as big as the Tucson. Did you think about putting the bigger 2.0-litre diesel engine in the Alcazar?

 

Tarun: We tested the Alcazar with the 2.0-litre petrol and the 1.5 diesel engines and the results were astonishing!  I would request you to go to a nearby dealership, take a test drive, and give me feedback because we are extremely happy with the performance, fuel efficiency, and also the price. I think the moment you see all three factors together, you will find that the 1.5-litre CRDi diesel is the greatest match for the Alcazar in terms of the power-to-weight ratio, torque, fuel efficiency, and, of course, price. I think it is extremely good and you will not find a lag between the Creta and the Alcazar. So, I would request you to test drive it. 

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