Stating that the automobile market in the country is likely to remain subdued in the current year as well, Hyundai Motor India on Wednesday said car makers need to introduce initiatives to boost consumer sentiment.

Talking to The Hindu on the sideline of Delhi Auto Expo, Hyundai Motor India Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Rakesh Srivastava said, "2013 was the most challenging year for the Indian auto sector. We expect 2014 too will be a challenging one for the industry."

He added, "Consumer sentiment is very low. The footfalls at showrooms are converting into sales...first time buyers staying away. Car makers need to come up with marketing techniques to boost it."

Annual car sales in India declined for the first time in 11 years in 2013 as the auto industry was plagued by demand slump due to economic slowdown.

Talking about Hyundai's efforts, which is keen on increasing its current market share of 20.7 per cent, Mr. Srivastava said the company is focusing on increasing rural penetration as well as ramp up corporate sales. "Presently, both these segments contribute 18 per cent to our sales. We believe we can get good volume there," he said.

Hyundai is also looking at growing number of rural outlets to 300 from the current 270.

Meanwhile, the country's second biggest car maker launched its new generation sports utility vehicle Sante Fe on the inaugural day of Delhi Auto Expo.

The vehicle, which is powered by a 2.2 litre engine, would come in three variants priced at Rs 26.3 lakh, Rs 27.1 lakh and Rs 29.2 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), respectively.

"The third generation Sante Fe is a world-class product and will set new benchmark in India's SUV segment," HMIL Managing Director and CEO B S Seo said.

The South Korean firm had also unveiled its first compact sedan Xcent in India on Tuesday, which will be available from next month.

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