Hyundai files trademark for ‘Casper’ in India— Santro replacement?


Hyundai launched the Exter in India last year as a direct rival to Tata Punch which has been doing exceptionally well in the market. Prior to the launch of Exter, the South Korean car major introduced the Casper micro SUV in its home market. In fact, many believed Casper to be Hyundai’s answer to Tata Punch. 

Instead, the Korean giant went ahead with an all-new India-specific model in the form of Exter. However, it seems Hyundai has plans after all to bring the Casper to India as the carmaker has filed a trademark for the micro crossover in the country. The trademark application mentions a journal date as recent as 13 May 2024.

The Casper is a quirky and cute-looking car much like its namesake from the world of cartoons. Odd styling elements like round headlamps housed inside a glossy silver panel flanking the meshed pattern of the grille make it stand out in the crowd. A chunky front bumper, flared square-ish wheel arches, and roof rails enhance its SUV-ish appeal even though it is just a hatchback on heels.

The design is so funky that if you notice closely, the air intake vents actually resemble USB C-type charging ports. The same treatment is carried to the alloy wheels as well. Instead of conventional taillight clusters at the rear, the  Casper gets a blacked-out panel housing an elongated brake lamp setup with pixelated treatment. A faux diffuser at the rear bumper accentuates the SUV-ness.

Interiors of the cabin are a little less funky and more functional with a more than decent list of creature comforts. The important question to ask is why Hyundai contemplating on bringing the Casper to India?

During the same period, before the Exter was officially launched, Hyundai quietly discontinued the Santro in the country. The Santro was Hyundai’s first product in India and came in different interactions before being discontinued due to underwhelming sales figures last year. During its last days, Santro couldn’t match up to its rivals like Maruti Suzuki WagonR and Tata Tiago.

The shift in consumer sentiment towards SUVs moving away from hatchbacks could also be a potential reason for Hyundai to axe Santro from its portfolio. The carmaker has realised that the SUVs are the way forwards and hence replacing a hatchback with a crossover/SUV would make better sense. 

If and when launched in India, Casper is launched in India it will create another segment of SUVs below the likes of the Hyundai Exter and Tata Punch. Expect prices for Casper to start as low as Rs 5 lakh (ex-showroom).


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