Hyundai's Indian operation is on a roll. Now the global hub for the automaker's small cars, it has just boosted capacity from the initial 150,000 units to 250,000 and even that may not be enough.

All departments will shift to a three-shift operation by January 2005, boosting output further to 300,000 units. The next expansion will boost capacity to 400,000 units by 2006.

The company had previously added 600 workers and worked three shifts when capacity was 150,000 units. The third shift ended when the company added another production line to boost capacity to 250,000. The original 600 extra workers were transferred to the new line and, with the resurrection of the third shift, Hyundai will be recruiting another 600 people.

Though the automaker has been doing well in India - with the recent festival season being extremely good for Santro sales - most of the latest expansion is to meet export demand for the Santro (Hyundai Atos/Atos Prime in export markets; it's also badged the Dodge Atos in places).

Hyundai India operations already exports the car to Latin America, parts of Europe and some African countries while shipments to South Africa, Ecuador and Sweden will begin soon.

Deepesh Rathore / Tilak Swarup