Hyundai Motors India unveiled its new i10 small car in a global launch in New Delhi today.

The new vehicle slots into the Korean company's range between the Atos Prime small car and the Getz subcompact.

Hyundai's 600,000-unit-a-year plant near Chennai is now the global export hub for all the three models.

From next year, when the plant reaches full capacity, half its production will be exported. Exports are expected to account for 265,000 of the 530,000 vehicles built this year.

The i10, earlier codenamed Pa, is designed primarily for the European market. Its styling, design, performance and size adhere to the B-segment small car segment there.

Here in India, the i10 will replace the Atos Prime (aka Santro Xing in some markets) with a larger, more upmarket vehicle with high quality trim and design. The engine size is the same but it has been reworked to improve performance.

The Indian market car comes offers optional sunroof, ABS, airbags and four-speed automatic transmission.

The other export markets for the i10 are Columbia, Mexico and South Africa where it will be pitched a notch above the Santro/Atos.

Hyundai is stepping up its investment in India for future models and their development. It has announced a new R&D centre in Hyderabad in which US$40m will be invested.

The US dollar's weakness has had little effect on Hyundai India as more than 50% of its exports are to European countries.

In India, the company plans to launch two models annually and has set a target of 20% market share from little over 17% currently. This is a conservative target considering the attractive pricing of the i10 between INR339,000 (EUR6,000) and INR490,000 (EUR8,750).

Deepesh Rathore/Tilak Swarup

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