Shortly after HMIL introduced the i10 in India, it began working on its next project - the i20. The Sriperembdur facility would manufacture the i20 for global markets and Hyundai will allocate a tiny portion of the production to India.
Meeting the demands in Europe was the biggest challenge for the Chennai factory. Both 3- and 5-door styles were produced in a wide range of trims and colors.
The hype around the i20 picked up as spy shots of mules began circulating on the internet. The i20's predecessor Getz was a damp squib and HMIL may have been apprehensive while planning for the Indian market.
The launch was done and Hyundai was taken aback by the demand levels in the initial months. The demand continued to be strong in the following months and many saw the i20 as the best alternative to the Swift, India's most loved hatchback. Pleasantly surprised with the demand for the 7-8 lakh rupee diesel variants, Hyundai upgraded equipment and added a 6-speed transmission that delivered more mileage.
Three years after its introduction Hyundai has moved production of i20 to Turkey and utilizes the capacity in Chennai to meet the local demand. The environment is fast changing with new arrivals such as the Polo, Micra, Liva and Swift. There is more to come in the next couple of years and to stay prepared, Hyundai is working on a minor cosmetic makeover. The facelift has to be very effective in holding out until the replacement model with greater abilities is ready to sail out to sea.
The first i20 facelift mules were spotted unloading from a container in Europe in early August. Our estimate is Hyundai puts the i20 facelift on the Indian market by June 2012.
Studying some recent Hyundai facelifts and launches, our in-house image illustrator SRK knew the signature touches on the outcome. The front fascia sports a hexagonal grille, sharper headlights and new fog lamps. The stop light has been reworked and the revised model dons new wheels. Interiors are not expected to change drastically, perhaps Hyundai can rework the color combinations and bring out another eye-candy.
On the mechanical front, there's isn't any groundbreaking technology or development. At most, the 1.2-liter Kappa engine with variable valve timing will fully replace the standard Kappa engine. The 1.4-liter CRDI will continue performing, we hope with a reprogrammed turbocharger that works in harmony with a revised gear ratio to reduce the effect of turbo lag.
Does Hyundai have another winner in its hands? Absolutely!