Kolkata: Chinese auto companies are set to make a splash at the India Auto Expo, the flagship industry event held in Delhi every alternate year. A key European car maker will also make a comeback at this edition of the motor show. But American and Japanese firms that have for decades defined the automobile sector across continents will be conspicuous by their absence this year.
Of the 36 members of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex national body representing all major vehicle and engine manufacturers, 18 will be participating at the 15th edition of the auto expo, the same as the last one in 2018. But major car manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, BMW, Audi and Ford will give the expo a skip as will two wheeler companies Bajaj, Hero, TVS and Yamaha as well as commercial vehicles manufacturers Ashok Leyland and Eicher.
Instead, the organisers are banking heavily on new Chinese entrant MG and China’s biggest SUV manufacturer Great Wall and Haima, part of Chinese state-owned First Automobile Works. The Chinese apart, SIAM will bank on the popularity of Korean firms Hyundai and Kia as well as Indian majors Tata Motors and Mahindra to draw the crowds at a time when the industry is passing through the worst downturn. The organisers are particularly gung-ho about the return of European brands Volkswagen and Skoda to the show. The two Japanese brands that will be there are Suzuki and Nissan.
“The auto industry in India is experiencing significant challenges. It has been the worst year in over two decades. For many companies, investing significant resources in the expo is therefore difficult. The two-wheeler industry has also been impacted by BS VI shift. We hope the show will generate enough hype and be a launchpad for the industry’s revival,” said SIAM deputy director general Sugato Sen, adding that 85% of car manufacturers and 75% of commercial vehicle manufacturers were participating in the show.
In all, there will be 26 India-specific launches, 10 global launches, 21 unveils, seven facelifts and six concept vehicles.