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Carmakers showcase future lineup at Auto Expo

Auto companies maintained the excitement on the second day of the Auto Expo, with top manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Mahindra displaying concepts, promising gradual launches to keep the growth momentum going. The government, on its part, hinted that a scrappage policy is on the anvil, bringing cheer to manufacturers.

Car makers looked keen to tap the growth opportunity offered by sub 4 metre cars, which enjoy a lower excise duty and can be competitively priced. All moves point to a rising competition in this segment. Country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki today unveiled its concept compact car Ignis and concept Baleno RS, which will be exclusively retailed through Nexa, its premium retail channel around October this year. Ignis is the mini SUV that will compete with Mahindra's recently launched KUV100 while Baleno RS is a sporty version of its recently launched hatchback Baleno.

Maruti’s nearest competitor and the second largest player in domestic passenger car market, Hyundai, also showcased the compact SUV concept HND-14. Without revealing much details on the vehicle, the company indicated it will be a sub 4 metre product. HND-14 upon launch would compete with the likes of Ford EcoSport and the upcoming Maruti Vitara Brezza that was unveiled on Wednesday.

Tractor and utility vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) today unveiled a concept product XUV Aero, a coupe-styled vehicle, at the Auto Expo.The vehicle is based on the XUV 500, a premium sports utility vehicle (SUV) launched by the company a few years ago. The Mumbai-based company also unveiled a series of other products such as Ssangyong Tivoli, e2o Sports, eVerito and eMaxximo.

Government’s booster dose

Union transport, highways and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari, who was here to formally inaugurate the Expo, invited suggestions from the auto Industry before the month end to formulate an incentive-based scrappage policy. The aim is to promote the replacement of old vehicles with modern ones which are fuel efficient as well as better emission standards. “The note is ready with me and I invite suggestions from you. I am going to submit the policy to the Cabinet by this month," he said. A scrappage policy will help in creating new demand for the automobile industry and trigger growth.