We sell more petrol Hectors than diesel, says Gaurav Gupta, COO at MG Motor India
As told to Sirish Chandran
MG Motor India has launched the facelifted Hector and Hector Plus in India, with updates to the exterior styling, interior equipment and it even gets a seven-seater variant. The Hector hasn’t been around too long, but it has certainly made a mark as a value-for-money proposition – offering plenty of space along with technology and features at a competitive price point. At the launch of the facelifted Hector, we sat down with Gaurav Gupta, Chief operating officer at MG Motor India to talk about the Hector, the Gloster, their competition and how they have fared in the last few months.
Here’s the full interview with editor Sirish Chandran
Sirish Chandran: What’s new on the Hector for 2021?
GG: What better way to start the year with a new launch than with an entirely new range of the Hector. The best part here is the Hector 2021 is pleasing to look at for everyone. What we did was take the feedback of all of you and the customers in hand. The rear tail garnish which is piano black. We were asked to improve the wheel size to 18 and there we have it now. I am so pleased to share that based on all your feedback we were able to improve and give a more enhanced Hector 2021. Then the important part here is in terms of the content we have added vs the price increase. Second I would like to say our leadership position in the SUV segment which we want to retain this year versus what we had last year, in terms of 47 per cent share. The leadership position is what we aim for, the number will of course go up or down depending on dynamic changes in the market. Third, keeping the customer first will always be our focus. We've added the seven-seater this time, to complete the value offering on the Hector platform: 5, 6 and 7-seater.
SC: Between the Hector and Hector Plus, what is the split now of volumes?
GG: Frankly, at this point of time we keep the entire volume as one only because we have the one platform. So from our perspective, we don't segregate in terms of Hector 5, 6 or 7. Because it is the same platform, it is not about lengthening of the platform or the wheelbase. That is why from our perspective we want to keep it also. It's all about Hector's sales.
SC: Same would hold to between petrol and diesel!
GG: So petrol and diesel, of course, we have seen a mix of diesel and petrol. We actually have been pleasantly surprised with the momentum on the petrol from our side. In fact, when we launched the car we were expecting more from the diesel because this segment originally was about 25 per cent petrol and 75 per cent diesel. In our case, it is more of 50-50 split as of now, where it is almost 55 per cent is petrol and the rest is diesel. So it is quite a good mix. And in a lot of metro cities, petrol momentum has increased.
SC: I also suspect that is to do with the fact that the petrol-only gets the automatic. And that was another one of our feedback that in addition, to bigger wheels, was automatic for the diesel. So when do we see that?
GG:- As of now, difficult to comment. We are going to keep on working to enhance the Hector as we have been doing all along. But as of now, we want to strengthen work for what we have been offering now. The Hector automatic diesel as of now we don't have any current plans. We believe that with the current offering itself we are able to keep the segment leadership, how do we sustain the leadership with current offering itself, of course, adding on the seven-seater, six and five.
SC:- Talking about the segment, who do you classify in this segment? What are the other rivals in the segment?
GG:- The premium SUV definitely. All of you only help us to classify these cars. When we look at premium SUV, we have seen the likes of the XUV, the Jeep Compass and the Tata Harrier and the MG Hector. These are the larger in stance.
SC: So you don't classify the Creta and the Seltos in this segment?
GG: No not at all. because number one they are smaller cars, number two they even start below ten lakh rupees. So it is quite a difference when you look at the Hector and some of the other names. These when you look typically in classification, it is either on the engine side or the size of the vehicle, that's how they come into picture.
SC: How is the Gloster been doing and what's the response been to that and with updated Fortuner being launched, do you have anything else up your sleeve?
GG:- We have been pleasantly surprised by the response to the Gloster. We have got more than 3000 bookings on the Gloster. We have had a lot of supply challenges through November and December but despite that, we are becoming a close number two in that segment. Thirdly, we still have customers who booked the car, in November we got close to 10,000 bookings, and a lot of demand is there for the top-end variant which has all the ADAS features. That really is in high demand and luckily from our planning perspective also we are able to make it, our main challenge has been our supply issues from our tier 2, tier 3 suppliers. Once we sort that out, our aim will be to support the initial bookings and continue this momentum in that segment. We have always said that the Fortuner is the leader of that segment and we are only two months old but good to see the new Fortuner and good to see the new positioning and that, of course, will give momentum to the entire segment.
SC:- Like how you gave Hector's volume in percentage what is the Gloster's percentage in its segment?
GG:- Overall annual will not be comparable, but if I just give you November and December figures, for example, the Gloster was close to 11,100 units. So we were pretty much there in terms of the segment leadership position as well.