Hyundai Motors India's cumulative exports have passed the 200,000 mark, at the fastest rate for any India based car manufacturer.

The company expects to end the current financial year with export sales of around INR27bn (€491m), according to its president BVR Subbu. Exports of 52,000 cars in the first half were worth INR13.25 bn (€241m), Subbu announced at a ceremony to mark the loading of the 200,000th export car at Chennai port.

The company's exports are expected to grow 59% over fiscal 2004/05 exports worth INR17bn (€309m), which in turn had grown 55% over the preceding year.

The strong export performance has largely been due to the Santro (Atos) small car, for which the Indian company is the global hub.

HMIL exports began in December 1999 with a small shipment to Nepal. Subsequently, it began exporting components to Hyundai in South Korea. The launch of the Santro Xing in 2003 marked a huge export thrust with shipments to Europe. HMIL reached the 50,000 units exported milestone in January 2004 and 100,000 last year.

HMIL also exports the Accent to over 60 countries in Europe, Africa, West Asia, Latin America and Asia.

However the Santro accounts for nearly 90% of shipments and is sold mainly in Europe.

Deepesh Rathore