The new Santro is currently under development in South Korea and will come to India in around two years, according to vendor sources.
Sources say Hyundai management has decided to bring the iconic car back because of the positive customer interest in the brand two years after it went off the market. Hyundai dealers agress that customers still asks for the car to be back, leaving the tallboy space wide open for rivals like Maruti.
According to the reports, the top management appreciates that the Santro continues to be a powerful brand in India despite the new models introduced by Hyundai and its rivals since the tallboy's phase out. The current new Santro project is under tight veil of secrecy as vendor sources said it was "too early to talk about".
Talking about the car, the Santro was launched in India in September 1998. With its tallboy design and MPFI engine - a departure from the carburettor engines that were in vogue 20 years ago - it became a game-changer model for Hyundai in India. It had remarkable sales of 13.6 lakh units in the domestic market and another 5.35 lakh units in exports till it was phased out.
The Santro marked nearly 1.9 million units of lifetime sales in the domestic and export markets put together in its 16 year-run in India. Even when it was phased out end-2014, the Santro was selling around 2400-2500 units a month and clocked 14595 units in the first six months of 2014-15, according to the statistics.
The Santro was the Indian avatar of what was globally known as the Hyundai Atos Prime. The Korean company replaced Atos Prime with the i10 in most markets across the world in 2007. In October 2011, the Hyundai Eon was launched in India in a similar price segment as the Santro Xing and in 2014 the Grand i10 was launched. But the tallboy continued to sell alongside these newer launched cars
The entry of tallboy model is once again becoming a hype with unconfirmed media reports claiming Maruti is reportedly mulling a tallboy avatar for its Alto. Hyundai is facing high grudges with its product pipeline. It plans to launch the Tucson this year followed by a soft hybrid - which is less expensive than full hybrids - in 2017. In 2018 it will bring its AMT engine which will gradually be introduced in the entire model range. And in 2019 it plans to bring a sub-4 metre, 1000 cc compact SUV.