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Big guys to skip Auto Expo

The biennial Indian Auto Expo, which is set to kick off on Wednesday, will miss the presence of some of the high-ranking representatives from global automotive firms that are taking part in the expo.

Heads of companies of General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Renault-Nissan, Suzuki and Volkswagen, who have made several business trips to India in the recent past, will not be attending the expo.

Mary Barra, chairman and chief executive of General Motors, visited India three times in the last 17 months to take stock of GM India's domestic operations. However, she is not expected to visit the expo, which is into its 13th year. Carlos Ghosn, the most popular executive from the French company, Renault, will also not be seen at the five-day event. Ghosn has made several trips to India in the past with the recent one being at the Chennai plant for the launch of the Kwid, Renault's affordable hatchback, in October.

While Alan Mulally, who retired as the president and chief executive of Ford Motor Company in 2014, visited the Expo in 2012 to launch the Eco Sportsports utility vehicle, this time no such senior executive would be attending the event. Mark Fields, who took over as Ford's President and chief executive officer after Mulally's retirement is not expected for the event. Other big names like Osamu Suzuki, chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation and Herbert Diess, chief executive of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, will also not be coming for the event. Suzuki's son Toshihiro Suzuki, however, is expected for the expo.

One of the main reasons why these executives are giving the expo, which is also the world's biggest auto show (in terms of footfalls), a miss is due to lack of any product or corporate announcements. Most of these global companies (with the exception of Suzuki Motor Corporation) are struggling with their businesses in India despite being in the market for more than a decade.

Ford for instance, which announced its exit from Japan and Indonesia after years of unfruitful operation, has no new product to showcase at the expo. With the exception of the launch of Mustang brand, Ford has had two launches - Figo and Figo Aspire - both of which were low-key. Ford's accumulated losses in India climbed to Rs 1,764 crore in the last financial year. However, with accumulated losses grown to Rs 6,552 crore in fiscal year 2014 and with lack of consumer excitement for its Chevrolet range in India senior executives from its headquarters in the US have decided to stay away from the Expo.

But not everyone would be absent at the show. Cyrus Mistry, Chairman of Tata Sons would be visiting the event to back group company Tata Motors, which is finally showing signs of growth in its car segment with new launches.

Tata Motors' stall, which would be the biggest would also be amongst the busiest of all. More than two dozen products across categories like passenger cars, SUV, electric vehicles, commercial vehicles, luxury vehicles and concept vehicles would be showcased at the event.

Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director of Mahindra & Mahindra would also be present where he will showcase Mahindra's growing prowess at the Moto3 racing championship, new electric two-wheeler Genze and concept vehicles to name a few.

Honda Motor Company's president and chief executive Takahiro Hachigo and its global head of two-wheelers will also be present for the event.