To be held as separate shows for motor vehicles and components, the 2014 Auto Expo will be bigger and better organised.
Regarded as one of the largest auto shows in Asia, Auto Expo 2014 is set to be another successful event in the history of the Indian automobile industry. Successful in drawing close to 700 participants across two separate shows, the 2014 Auto Expo, for the first time in the history of the event, will be held at two locations, and almost concurrently. The Motor Show, as stated in the earlier part of the preview (see January 2014 APF) will be held separately at the Expo Mart at Greater Noida. The Components Show will be held at Pragati Maidan, the location at which the Auto Expo has been held from the time it started in 1986. Held in the month of February rather than January for the first time in its history, the Components Show at Pragati Maidan will coincide with the Defence Expo. Both the events will share the same venue.
Entry to the Components Show is free. The Motor Show, on the other hand, will have paid access. Entry at the Motor Show will be through a three-layered security, the ticket to which could be bought online at Bookmyshow, or at Barrista outlets in Delhi. The Society of Indian Automotive Manufacturers (SIAM), which has been the force behind the Motor Show, is also in advanced stages of discussion with Delhi Metro for the sale of tickets. By the time this issue of APF goes to press, the arrangement with Delhi Metro is likely to be clinched. The two parking slots (capable of accommodating between 8,000 and 10,000 vehicles) near Expo Mart are 50 m away. Both these will also have counters to sell tickets to the Motor Show, priced between Rs 200 and Rs 500.
Making a candid statement at a select media gathering in Mumbai, that doing a show at a new venue is always challenging, Dr Pawan Goenka, Executive Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, expressed that they had to look for alternate venue since Pragati Maidan could no longer accommodate the humongous Auto Expo. He drew attention to the issues faced during the 2012 event in terms of crowd control and space. Vikram Kirloskar, President, SIAM, averred that shortage of space led to the construction of (GM and TKM) stalls on a pond at the 2012 Auto Expo. "And they cost a premium," he added. Taking cue from the challenges faced in 2012, SIAM has left no stone unturned to ensure that the Motor Show will be on par with motor shows held in other parts of the world. With the time slot for the event granted by Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA), the 2014 Auto Expo will not clash with similar events held in other parts of the world. Similar to SIAM, the other organisers of 2014 Auto Expo, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Automotive Components Manufacturers Association (ACMA), have left no stone unturned either, in organising the Components Show.
To ensure seamless connectivity between the two venues, which are 40 km apart, the organsiers have arranged for buses that will ply every 5 minutes. With an ability to ease the connectivity issue, buses will leave from Gate 1 at Pragati Maidan and reach the Expo Mart at Greater Noida in approximately 90 minutes. Visitors to the Motor Show could also ride the Delhi Metro, alighting at Noida Botanical Gardens, which is the station closest to the show according to SIAM sources. Buses will ply between Expo Mart and this Metro station. Tickets at the Motor Show will be gate specific. The layout of the Motor Show is compact enough to rid the pain Pragati Maidan was known to induce, walking from one hall to another, spread as they were on a piece of land measuring no less than 100 acres!
Aware that some of the component manufacturers are not happy with the prospect of the vehicle show being held separately, Vikram Kirloskar drew attention to the varied nature of the two sub-events. He described Motor Show as a business-to-consumer event, and the Components Show as a business-to-business event. The Components Show will have 360 participants, and the Motor Show will have 50 participants. Either show is full, and had to decline participants because of the lack of space. The Motor Show, apart from CBU launches (see Auto Expo Preview in January 2014 APF), will play host to a number of 'Made in India' vehicle launches.
Honda is expected to introduce the next generation Jazz and Mobilio people carrier. Both are based on the Brio platform. Fiat is expected to showcase the new Linea. Nissan will launch the Datsun GO. Maruti Suzuki is expected to showcase the YL1 (likely to replace the SX4), and YL7. The YL7 is a small hatchback, expected to replace the A-Star. It will however be called the Celerio according to industry sources. Tata Motors will unveil a new hatchback codenamed the Falcon 4, and a compact sedan codenamed the Falcon 5. Tata Motors is also expected to showcase the Diesel Nano, apart from introducing a new, smarter variant of Nano with power steering, called the Twist.
Harley Davidson is expected to unveil the Street 750 at the event. Made in India at Harley's Bawal plant, this motorcycle will be exported to other markets in the world. Bajaj Auto will showcase a new cruiser concept. Hero MotoCorp will reveal brand new models built on new platforms at the show. India Yamaha is expected to introduce a Unisex scooter whereas TVS Motors is expected to unveil higher capacity RTR models. Mahindra Two Wheelers is expected to launch the Mojo motorcycle and a new scooter at the Auto Expo.
Perhaps the most affected by the slow-down, commercial vehicle manufacturers, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland are expected to display new, more efficient and cost effective platforms. For the former, it is the Captain Series of CVs. Volvo Eicher will display new age trucks and buses it launched recently. New participants in the CV space will include Scania, SML Isuzu, and JBM-Breda Menarini, a bus making joint venture between the JBM Group and Menarini of Italy.
Apart from Hall 1 to Hall 6, the Components show will include 8 hangars. Sharing the venue with Defence Expo, of the 630 participants at the Components Show, 67 are from abroad. It may sound ironic, considering the challenges the Indian auto industry is facing, that Auto Expo 2014 has succeeded in attracting more participants than the 2012 event. If this indicates another successful show, the next show scheduled for 2016 may be fragmented like this show, in the absence of a venue large enough to accommodate both the shows together. The organisers of Auto Expo are hoping that the work to turn Pragati Maidan into a modern, world-class exhibition venue will be over before the 2016 event.
Many participants that APF spoke to expressed hope that the show will prove to be a catalyst for growth, that it will induce growth once again into the Indian auto industry. An interesting comment came from Vijay Khairnar of GGB Bearings India, a participant at the Components Show. Khairnar said that the separate show would screen visitors. He also expressed the possibility of important visitors giving preference to the Motor Show over Components Show owing to lack of time.
GGB Bearings will be displaying new CSM (CBM) and flash click solid polymer products at the Components Show. Fleet Gaskets India, a Delhi-based company will display gaskets for automotive, off-highway, industrial, locomotive and aerospace applications. Shivam Polymers, a Noida-based company, will launch new passenger vehicle mats.
One of the most interesting displays will come from Igus India. Celebrating 30 years of iglidur, a polymer special bearing, Igus will display a (Mercedes Benz) Smart car whose bushes have been changed to iglidur plastic bushes. The display will be in-line with a world tour of the car by Igus. Like the earlier events, the Components Show will host country pavilions of China, Taiwan, UK, Canada, Germany, Korea and Japan. Apart from these countries, participants at the Components Show will come from Austria, Poland, Netherlands and Dubai. Displaying components, accessories and equipment, the Components Show will include a curious mix of manufacturers, representatives, distributors and retailers that cater to OEMs and the replacement market.
Given the global nature of the auto industry, the Components Show will also include Manatec, Elgi and Jet Age. Those with a presence in the OEM and the aftermarket, and dubbed as Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, will include the Anand Group, India Japan Lightening, Rane (Madras) Group, Valeo, Visteon, Avtec, MRF, JK Tyres, Apollo Tyres, India Pistons, Bosch, BorgWarner, Continental, Eaton, Delphi, Carl Bechem Lubricants, Texspin and Hella India. Displaying their might, these companies, apart from components, will also display sub-assemblies and modular systems with an aim to highlight the competitive advantage they could offer in terms of costs.
Moderation in inflation and an upturn in growth expected to emerge in the later half of 2014, the 2014 Auto Expo may well turn out be a much needed catalyst to induce growth back into the industry that has seen sales decline through out 2013. Input costs rise, and exports fall. It may be too early to draw any conclusion on what the separate shows may derive - chances are, the two separate shows will add a new dimension, help attract quality visitors; and lead to a better return on investment. Participating in a show like Auto Expo does not come easy after all.