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Straight from the Specialists

Hyundai makes a grand move with the Grand i10

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

In 1947, when India won freedom from British rule, an enterprising young man in South Korea was realizing a dream that was to become a global phenomenon. Chung Ju-yung, founder of the Hyundai group, set up a construction company at 32 and two decades later, the Hyundai Motor Company was born.

Today, together with Kia, Hyundai Motor Group is the world’s fourth largest carmaker based on annual vehicle sales. While the world was reeling under recession, Hyundai made an impact in markets such as Europe and the United States by offering quality products at reasonable prices vis-à-vis more established automakers. This helped the South Korean giant become a household name.

In the early 1980s, when Maruti was setting up operations, the Indian buyer didn’t have much to choose from. The automobile market comprised a handful of players like Hindustan Motors with cars such as the Ambassador and Contessa. There was also the odd Standard 2000, but that didn’t quite stir up the motoring scene in India.

Why do we buy what we buy?

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Let’s cut out all the marketing jargon and adspeak. Consumers (that means people, you and me) try to buy rationally, on price – it’s cheaper, on quality – it lasts longer, on service – they won’t let you down when things go wrong. And sometimes it is genuinely possible to make rational choices when we buy things. Mostly though it isn’t anymore, because products and services are increasingly similar in their rational characteristics. If they are poorer quality or more expensive than a direct competitor, they die.

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