A slowdown in sales will not deny car lovers the opportunity to size up new automobile beauties. Car companies are hardly deterred by the sector’s woes when it comes to launching new models. January’s Auto Expo in Delhi has as many as 55 launches lined up.
The last edition (in 2010) featured 50 launches, including 10 global debuts. But, the sales growth back then was impressive. The show itself is getting bigger. There will be more than 50 participants at January’s expo against 42 the last time.
New players include Peugeot Citroen, which is in the process of setting up a manufacturing plant in Gujarat, super car manufacturer Bugatti, Japanese commercial vehicle maker Isuzu, Kamaz Vectra, a Russian company that makes trucks in India, local name Garware Motors, which has started selling superbikes, Daimler Commercial Vehicles, BMW Motorrad, off-road vehicle maker Polaris and the UK-based Triumph Motorcycles. Bajaj Auto’s much awaited small car, which promises to have the best mileage in its class, will be unveiled at the show.
The launch is crucial as it will also be the first time the company's partners Nissan-Renault (for whom it has built the car) will get a close look at the offering. The decision to go ahead with the project or call if off will be made thereafter.
Maruti Suzuki will unveil two cars: a concept sports utility vehicle (SUV) and a new product the company has refused to reveal any details about. Sources in Tata Motors say it will launch a passenger vehicle and a commercial vehicle at the Auto Expo but not the diesel Nano. A concept car is, however, expected to be on display.
Peugeot is expected to showcase its 508 Sedan, the first product it will launch in 2014, apart from other cars it plans to bring to India. Industry sources say Renault's small car Pulse is also expected to be launched at the expo. Ford is likely to launch EcoSport, a mini-SUV.
In the two-wheeler segment, Yamaha will show its range of scooters, an area it is entering. Piaggio will showcase a motorcycle for the first time. Bajaj Auto will bring its KTM bikes to the show. Mahindra & Mahindra, analysts say, will launch a whole host of two-wheeler offerings.
To promote electric vehicles, the organisers will for the first time have a procession of theirs. Companies expected to participate in this segment include General Motors, Tata Motors (a hybrid bus will be showcased), Renault and Maruti Suzuki, among others.
In the super luxury class, the usual suspects, Ferrari, Porsche, Maserati, Lamborghini and Rolls Royce, will make their presence felt.
Event organiser SIAM (the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) is having to deal with space constraints due to the high interest.
SIAM senior director Sugato Sen said, “The built-up area available at Pragati Maidan is around 70,000 sq metres. The requirement is to the tune of 100,000-110,000 sq metres. We have asked members to curtail their floor space requirement up to 30 per cent.” Nearly 1.2 million people visited the expo last year.