India’s flagship motor show, Auto Expo, started at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida. With thousands of media persons in attendance, India’s largest passenger car, two-wheeler and commercial vehicle companies went all guns blazing to launch new vehicles and concepts.
In the case of Korean company Kia Motors, the Auto Expo is also an opportunity to launch their brand to the public ahead of their official launch in mid-2019.
Kia and Maruti took the opportunity to launch their new concept cars that will underpin their upcoming models.
Maruti is displaying the Future Concept S which will be a future small SUV and Kia is showing the SP Concept which will be basis of their first ‘Made In India’ vehicle that will be produced in their Rs 7,000 crore greenfield facility in Andhra Pradesh.
Honda cars also took the opportunity to take the wraps off their second generation compact sedan, the Amaze, which will be introduced later in the year. Toyota also introduced their new small sedan the Yaris, which is expected to be a major seller for them and will compete with the Hyundai Verna and Maruti-Suzuki Ciaz.
Homegrown manufacturers Tata and Mahindra are also showcasing some new concepts that give an idea of the future direction both companies would take and both committed to major investments on the electric vehicle front. Tata Motors is displaying the H5X.
New electric vehicles are the flavour of Auto Expo 2018 and all manufacturers are showcasing their electric concept cars, two-wheelers and buses.
In fact, the country’s largest manufacturers — Maruti-Suzuki and Hyundai — revealed their plans to launch electric cars within the next two years, however, several manufacturers did highlight the lack of a clear policy on electrification and the absence of proper charging infrastructure along with a polluting power mix.
The motorcycle manufacturers are also not left behind with several new launches headlined by Hero Motocorp and Honda Motorcycle who launched the Xpulse 200 and XBlade respectively. However, despite thousands of mediapersons the Expo is missing the verve and excitement of prior events because several manufacturers such as the Volkswagen Group, Bajaj Auto, Ford and Nissan are not present.
There is also a lot of resentment inside the automotive industry on higher taxes on imported components which many in the industry feel is ruining the competitiveness of Indian manufacturing. However, with record crowds expected in the coming days, this Expo is also expected to be a huge public hit.