Even as competition hots heat up with a number of players entering the domestic small car segment, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL) has said that it is prepared to defend and improve its position in the market place.

It has already initiated a number of actions to retain its slot. At present, it has a 20 per cent share in the domestic market.

Addressing his maiden press conference since his elevation as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HMIL here on Tuesday, H. W. Park said the R&D (research and development) centre of its parent in Korea was working on developing a small car for India.

The still-to-be-developed small car would be smaller than its top selling Santro and that the car would be cheaper than Santro.

Arvind Saxena, Senior Vice-President (Marketing & Sales), said the small car development and production could entail an investment of a minimum Rs.800 crore. Right now, it was in the design stage. “Initially, it will be targeted at India. Gradually, however, it will also be exported,” he said.

FOCUS ON INDIAN MARKET

Mr. Park said that HMIL would continue to focus on the domestic market.

The year 2009, he said, was a landmark one for HMIL with record monthly sales. The company would beef up its dealer network by expanding the footprint to 320 from the current 274.

“We are looking ahead to provide a new benchmark in customer service,” he said.

Mr. Saxena said HMIL would focus on new products, improved network and product promotion to secure its share in the marketplace.

To a question, he said that the Government-initiated stimulus packages did help to drive demand.

He, however, felt that “fundamentally the demand is also getting stronger.”

Mr. Park said HMIL would churn out 5.6 lakh cars from its two units (in Irrungattukottai near hear) this year. The two plants have a combined production capacity of six lakh units.

He was confident that the capacity use at these plants next year would also be similar to current year’s utilisation.

Mr. Saxena expected the industry to post a 14-15 per cent growth this year.