Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014

First impressions: Auto Expo 2014 joins the league of big boys

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra poses with Jaguar Land Rover's Range Rover LWB during its launch at the Indian Auto Expo 2014 in Greater Noida. (PTI) Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra poses with Jaguar Land Rover's Range Rover LWB during its launch at the Indian Auto Expo 2014 in Greater Noida. (PTI)
Greater Noida | Posted: February 6, 2014 9:49 am | Updated: February 6, 2014 9:53 am

With around 40 new car and two-wheelers unveiled on day one and a sparkling new venue, the biennial Delhi Auto Expo can finally join the league of top global motor shows like those held in Tokyo, Geneva and Frankfurt. Greater Noida’s Expo Mart, where the motor show is being held for the first time, received a strong thumbs up on its opening day from the visiting top officials of global carmakers.

“This is a great motor show, it shows the rising importance of India in the business strategy of every global automaker,” said Toru Hasegawa, Nissan’s corporate VP for Africa, Middle East and India.

Added Jim Farley, Ford’s global VP for marketing, sales & service, “It’s loud, but it’s beautiful. I think there is a long way to go in India for all of us.”

The inaugural day saw its bit of celebrity blitz as well. On the corporate side, Ratan Tata, Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry and Anand Mahindra, were all spotted at the Auto Expo. There was also a bit of Bollywood glamour with Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra stopping by to support their respective auto brands. “Today, the Tokyo motor show and Paris Motor show organisers are also touring here and their feedback has been very pleasant,” said an official from one of the organisers.

Compact vehicles, such as small SUVs and sub-four metre sedans remained the focus. Major launches on Wednesday include car market leader Maruti Suzuki’s new midsize sedan concept ‘Ciaz’ and the SX4 S-Cross crossover, Hyundai’s new Santa Fe SUV and Tata Motors’ ‘Nexon’ compact SUV concept. General Motors also unveiled the Chevrolet Adra compact SUV concept.

Compared to the previous edition in 2012, crowd management and event organisation was much better, officials said. There is more space for companies as well to display their cars.

“I think the organisers have done a very good job. This is specifically important for our German counterparts coming to India who expect things to be very much in order. Strong impressions last long, and this helps position India as a major market in the minds of global managers,” said Mahesh Kodumudi, president & MD of Volkswagen India.

Sugato Sen, deputy director-general of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) said, “We wanted to create a world-class show because after the experience in 2012 global automakers had started doubting us”. Siam, along with CII and ACMA, are organisers of the Delhi Auto Expo.

To pull off a spotless show, Siam officials received training from Toyota on project management that helped the team plan for every eventuality, Sen added. The 12th Delhi Auto Expo opens to the public on February 7 and continues till February 11.

- Roudra Bhattacharya

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