Remember Santro? Well, it's Making a Comeback!

BENGALURU: Eighteen years ago, 1998 to be precise, a Korean carmaker by the name of Hyundai launched a small, subcompact city car in India. They called it Santro! The car was a runaway success with almost 14 lakh units sold in the country while another 5 lakh units were exported. Like the saying, ‘Every good thing must come to an end,’ Hyundai decided to stop production after 16 long years and the Santro ran its final lap in the year 2014. Now, according to the latest reports, a completely new version of the car is being readied in South Korea. Hyundai is calling it the Project “AH” and expects to launch the car within two years.

It was the time when Indian roads were ruled by the Ambassadors, the 800s and the Omnis, (and Hero Honda Splendors, of course). Besides, the only Korean companies known to Indians at the time were LG, Samsung and the erstwhile Daewoo. Santro’s entry into the Indian automobile market was like a breath of fresh air, owing to its peppy tall boy design, power steering, comfortable interiors and the Shahrukh Khan laden TV adverts. The popularity of the Santro can also be associated with the rise of the Indian middle class.

The Santro was Hyundai’s flag bearer in India for more than 16 years. However, it is to be noted that the car was still in great demand when it was withdrawn from the market. Even after its demise, customers often inquired about why the car wasn’t being produced anymore. Such widespread popularity might be the reason which led Hyundai to mull over reintroducing the car. Reports indicate that the new Santro will probably be a crossover with tall boy design powered by either an 800cc or a 1.0 litre engine. The car will be competing against similar models like the Renault Kwid and the Datsun redi-Go. Further details are yet to be available at this moment as Hyundai has placed the project under extreme confidentiality.

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