For an industry that is battling the worst ever slowdown in its history, the 2014 Auto Expo is set to induce a new round of excitement
One of the biggest auto shows in Asia is round the corner. A biennial show, the 2014 Auto Expo, for this first time in its history will be held in February. Until now, the show has always been held in the first month of the year. The change in the timetable is said to be to avoid a clash between the dates of the Detroit International Auto Show and this show. That the show will attract people from the global auto community rather than losing them to the Detroit show, which is undoubtedly the biggest show on the American continent. Apart from the change in the period, the 2014 Auto Expo, for the first time in its history will hold two separate shows under its banner. The Motor Show will be held at the Expo Mart at Greater Noida, 40 km from Pragati Maidan where the Auto Expo was held until now. The Components Show will continue to be held at Pragati Maidan.
The Motor Show at Greater Noida will be spread over 75,000 sq.m, and will attract over 50 manufacturers. Coming at a time when the Indian automotive industry is facing, perhaps, the worst ever slowdown in its history, the vehicle show is expected to host no less than 35 new dÃƒÂ©buts - a healthy mix of CBUs and locally made vehicles that would dot the Indian automotive landscape for the next two years. The most significant CBU dÃƒÂ©buts at the Auto Expo will be the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee from Fiat-Chrysler. Both the high-end SUVs, slated to go on sale in mid-2014 in India, will mark Chrysler's entry into India.
Mahindra will display the Korando C SUV from Ssangyong at the event. Renault is expected to premiere the Lody people carrier. Having invested in a green-field facility at Sri City near Chennai, Isuzu Motors of Japan will be displaying a new SUV and Pick-up truck it is currently selling in India, albeit in some very few markets in India including Coimbatore. Having announced the arrival of Mini at the 2012 show, BMW this time around is expected to announce the new Mini. Also of interest would be its concept vehicles like the i3 and the i8.
Volkswagen Group company, Audi, will launch the new A3. An upgraded A8 is also expected to make an entry into India at the event. Jaguar Land Rover is expected to display the new Evoque and a refreshed Discovery. Mercedes Benz will announce the arrival of the new S-Class to India. It is also expected to display the GLA. Ford, which is enjoying a good run in India, is expected to display the new KA hatchback, which was developed in Brazil. Whether it would replace the Figo or just be a concept brought here to gauge the response of the Indian motoring public is not clear yet. But it surely would add to the glamour of the show.
Undaunted by the slowdown, commercial vehicle majors, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland are expected to display a new intermediate and light commercial vehicle. Scania, VECV, Mahindra, AMW, MAN, Volvo Trucks and Buses will be showcasing their new and refreshed models.
At the Components Show at Pragati Maidan, the stalls will be spread across Hall 1 and Hall 6. There will be eight hangars too. A total of 620 exhibitors will put up their wares on display, according to the list put out by the organisers. Of these, 67 exhibitors are estimated to be foreign participants. Compared to the 2012 show, the exhibitor count for the 2014 show reads more. The 2014 show will attract more participants. More visitors too are expected, especially considering the fact that the Components Show will attract quality visitors. For the number crunchers, the 2012 event attracted 470 component manufacturers, including those that manufacture garage equipment, lubes, etc. The higher number of participants this year could be attributed to the premise that the show will prove as a catalyst for growth.
The Components Show could indeed induce growth back into the Indian automotive ecosystem. This was aptly reflected by some of the participants at the Auto Expo 2014 Components show Automotive Products Finder (APF) spoke to. Fleet Gaskets India, a Delhi-based company into the manufacture of gaskets for automotive, off-highway, industrial, locomotive and aerospace applications, said it is hopeful that the separated components show will bring serious visitors; business visitors. Sources at Shivam Polymers, a Noida-based company specialising in the manufacture of car mats, echoed the sentiments of Fleet Gasket India. Navin Kohli, CEO of Shivam Polymers, averred, "The quality of visitors at Pragati Maidan will be mostly trade visitors and actual users. Not persons coming to get freebies from car companies." The company will be displaying new car mats at the show.
An interesting display at the Components Show would be that of igus. Celebrating 30 years of iglidur, a polymer special bearing, igus will display a smart car whose bushes have been changed to iglidur plastic bushes. The appearance of the Smart car at Pragati Maidan during the Auto Expo will be in-line with a world tour of the car. igus is expected to be a part of the German pavilion at the Components Show.
Like in the earlier editions of the show, country pavilions would be a part of this show too, albeit limited to Pragati Maidan. According to a statement issued by SIAM, there will be country pavilions of China, Taiwan, UK, Canada, Germany, Korea and Japan. Apart from the pavilions representing companies from their country, participants from Austria, Poland, Netherlands and Dubai are expected to take part. These companies are expected to display components and equipment they manufacture, or trade in - components and equipment that go into European and Japanese vehicles that are found in the Indian market. If a good number of aftermarket suppliers will mark their presence at the show, there will be export oriented Indian suppliers like Cockerill Exports and Balu India at the show too. Balu India specialises in the manufacture of a wide variety of crankshafts, and has come to enjoy a good presence in the European market. Equipment manufacturers at the Components Show will include Madhus Garage Equipment, Manatec, Elgi and Jet Age.
Rubbing shoulders with the aftermarket suppliers and equipment manufacturers will be tier suppliers who cater to automakers in India as well as abroad. Tier 1 suppliers from India will include big names like Anand Group, India Japan Lightning, Rane Group, Valeo, Visteon, Avtec, MRF, JK Tyres, Apollo Tyre, India Pistons, Bosch, BorgWarner, Continental, Eaton, Delphi, 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.
The separation of vehicles and components is set to add a new dimension to the Auto Expo 2014, and would present it as a show that draws quality visitors; serious business visitors. The show will also reflect the challenges the Indian auto industry is facing; and the changes it is going through, adapting to new technologies, and new ways of doing business.