While we all know that 2018 marks 20 years for the Hyundai brand in India, today is a day very special not only for the manufacturer but for several of its customers as well. Today marks the 20th anniversary of the very special small car that came to be known as the Hyundai Santro. The automaker's first-ever offering in India, the Santro was launched in the country on September 23, 1998, kick-starting Hyundai's rise and rise in the Indian market. The Santro was a direct rival to the Maruti Zen, one of the most popular entry-level cars of its time, but the latter brought freshness to the segment making sure the competition had to step up its game as well.
The Hyundai Santro was the first car in the entry-level segment to get a Multi-Port Fuel Injection (MPFI) engine with three valves, while the tall boy design was relatively new for the Indian market as well and made for easy ingress and egress. With its cute looks, generous space, essential features including segment firsts like fog lamps, rear defogger and adjustable head restraints, the Santro ticked all the right boxes as a value-conscious car for the middle-class Indian. A Not to forget that having actor Shah Rukh Khan as its brand ambassador only helped matters with respect establishing both Hyundai and the Santro brand. That collaboration too exists 20 years on.
The Santro was produced at Hyundai's facility near Chennai, its first outside home market South Korea and single-handedly managed to push the carmaker into a profit-making entity. The hatchback was also one of the most exported cars from the country to several markets overseas. Hyundai Chennai facility made as many as 500 variants of the Santro at one point to address the demand across the world.
The Santro sold more than 1.85 million units worldwide from the Hyundai India manufacturing plant and propelled the company's as it went on to achieve a milestone of over eight million units by June 2018.
For the average India, the very special Hyundai Santro has been a part of several homes and was the aspirational first car for many. While the automaker decided to pull the plug on the last generation Santro (Xing) back in 2014, the automaker is all set to bring the iconic name with a completely new model.
Internally codenamed AH2, the new generation Hyundai Santro is expected to be feature rich, generously specced and easy to drive, while retaining the value conscious price tag. The manufacturer has already revealed the first design sketch of the new Santro, while the car is scheduled for an official unveil next month on October 9, 2018. And we will be around to bring you all the details on the completely new yet familiar offering.