The new gen Hyundai Verna has been the hot launch of this month in motown. While the car was always expected to make waves and bring a lot of attention on Hyundai, it has also revealed an interesting trend. When Hyundai opened bookings for the Verna a few days prior to launching the car, it notched up 45,000 enquiries - of which 10,000 came just the day before the launch. But within that number, Hyundai found an interesting trend. 40 per cent of all enquiries for the new Verna were specifically for the petrol variant. This goes completely against the trend not so long ago where diesel dominated the sales spread for most mass model cars. Even the previous generation of the Verna has a diesel dominance - which was in fact its big USP for toppling the Honda City (which did not have a diesel variant at the time) from the top of the sales charts. Similarly the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz too has seen its success come off the back of the smart hybrid or SHVS diesel variant.
Also Read: 2017 Hyundai Verna Review
The second very strong trend seen from the enquiries for the new 5th generation Verna sedan is that 30 per cent of the prospective buyers asked about automatic variants. The rise in demand for automatics comes from the acceptance of the sheer convenience automatics offer in bad city traffic, as also the more modern and efficient auto gearboxes now on offer. "It shows the customers want a stress-free ride. Prior to this when we had launched the Hyundai Creta, we had introduced the automatic transmission in diesel. We had a phenomenal success, and later we introduced the E variant of the Creta automatic because the customers also wanted the automatic transmission, and they were finding that automatic was only coming in the higher variant. So we introduced the (lower) E variant. Based on the experience that we've had, for the first time (on Verna) we have introduced two automatic transmission variants in petrol and two in diesel as well - one at the top-end and one in the middle", says Rakesh Srivastava, Director Marketing and Sales, Hyundai Motor India. The Verna has a six-speed automatic gearbox as an iption on its mid EX variant on petrol and diesel. The petrol gets the top of the line SX(O) in automatic too, while on the diesel it's the SX+ automatic variant. The automatics are priced at ₹ 10.22-12.23 lakh (petrol) and ₹ 11.39-12.62 lakh (diesel) ex-showroom.
Also Read: 2017 Hyundai Verna: Variants Explained
Hyundai says it is now equipped to handle this kind of demand. Unlike other models, where both petrol and automatic variants have seen long waiting periods last year, the Verna's manufacturing plan aims to minimise this from the get-go. The shift back to petrol began in 2016, but is now clearly picking up steam. The demand for automatics has been growing steadily too, and 2017 is seeing the demand reach its highest levels amongst buyers across segments. And Hyundai is aggressive on its targets, aiming for segment leadership with the Verna straight away. "Yes we believe that we will be able to strike 20 per cent conversion ratios and so by the month-end we should be able to generate almost 8-9000 bookings in hand on the strength of a superlative product and very aggressive pricing", says Srivastava.
The Verna is very strong on not just on pricing but also its feature list. The only negative the car seems to have is a less roomy cabin when compared to say the Ciaz. We have driven the Verna and tested its diesel/manual and petrol/automatic variants. You can read our review here.