Time to innovate: Hyundai's plans for a 'new normal' post lockdown blues

Hyundai's Puneet Anand explains how IT, innovation and online would be some of the buzzwords that would start taking shape in the times to come as far
File photo of Hyundai Kona SUVs used for representational purpose. (AP)
File photo of Hyundai Kona SUVs used for representational purpose.

Wading through the uncertain times of Covid-19 crisis and the ensuing national lockdown to check the spread of the disease is a challenge but for Hyundai, it also may serve as a platform to usher in innovations that could benefit the automotive industry in the times to come. How a vehicle is presented, launched and taken to people at large may now make use of technology more than ever before and the Korean car maker is digging in to go the digital way.

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With the message of social distancing reverberating across the globe and lockdowns posing a challenge, car makers may have to turn to newer strategies to better adapt to changing times. Speaking to HT Auto on Friday, Puneet Anand, Group Head, Corporate Affairs at Hyundai Motor India, said that the time is now to evolve. "These are new normals. Definitely, as a responsible manufacturer, we need to tweak various activities. In future, certain things will change (from) the way they were done before," he said. "As far as launches are concerned, we should be looking at very low focus as far as ground events are concerned. Probably, we should be taking more digital routes. These are the times that also give us a lot of innovation. I think IT, innovation and online would be some of the buzzwords that would start taking shape."

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Anand said that technology has already provided for capabilities where a customer can make an informed decision and this is only going to be enhanced with passing time. "I think people would also want to view cars on digital platform to see how they look, how they behave. That is where the strength of technology will give us a very sound platform to showcase our strength. I am sure that this will also be non-intrusive to customers and convenient to everybody."

Hyundai was one of the first off the blocks to start its online sales platform on a pilot basis back in 2019 and strengthened it in April by integrating 500 dealers under the common digital roof. "There are usually 26 touchpoints a customer has to go through when buying a car. We have digitized all these steps. He can evaluate the product, compare the product, negotiate the prices, request for a test drive on the platform, can request for a finance package and ultimately, the car delivery can also happen at his doorstep," Anand said. "Such kind of experiences not only strengthen the confidence of the consumer in the brand but also show technology can always give a new experience and a new meaning to the consumers."

Anand, however, does admit that there would still be some experiences that customers cannot get only through digital platforms but highlights how it is a positive start to constructive use of technology in the automotive business. "We are very happy that in a majority of cities, many customers are actually booking car service online. Slowly, people will start shifting and drifting from physical platform to the digital platform. But yes, certain things that cannot be digitized will have to be done in person and for that, the winner will be the one who would be able to do it in a formal way, a fine way so that it is understandable to the consumer."

Technology and using it to help customers get onto online platforms may then bring about a change in how automakers look to do business moving forward and Anand is confident that Hyundai is poised to stay ahead of this particular curve.

First Published Date: 09 May 2020, 10:55 AM IST

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