11th Auto Expo 2012, Delhi: Curtain Raiser 3rd January 2011

03 January 2012: The 2012 Delhi Auto Expo is round the corner! The curtain raiser press conference today was a promising start to what is being touted as the largest automotive event ever in Asia. And with 1500 participants, it might just be it. The conference chaired by Mr. Rajive Kaul, Chairman of the Auto Expo 2012 Steering Committee gave a general overview of what to expect in the coming days and among the many things talked about, here are a few of the highlights.
The event opens for media and business visitors on 5th of January, and for the general public on the 7th of January 2012 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. It will be spread over 6 halls and 2 hangers. There will be over 1500 exhibitors including many first timers like BMW’s Mini range, Nissan, Peugeot and Ferrari. Tata Motors has the largest pavilion spread over 5000 sq.m. followed by Maruti and Mercedes Benz. Bike manufacturers like Polaris, Triumph and BMW’s Motrrad bikes will also be displayed. Over 50 new cars are lined up for launch at the event – these include the Mini range, Nissan’s fully hybrid vehicle Leaf, Nissan GTR, Chevrolet Camaro, the all new Hyundai Sonata and many more. DC Design’s indigenous concept coupe is another attraction, which is a mid engined sports coupe with a V6 Honda engine, tuned to produce 400 bhp. Coupled with a 1400 kg kerb weight, it will be able to produce some strong performance figures. So don’t miss the DC Design pavilion!

The theme of the 2012 Auto Expo is ‘Mobility for All’, and many car manufacturers like Tata, Maruti and Honda will be showcasing their hybrid technologies and energy efficient cars. This event is particularly focused on greener technologies, so it’s not surprising that several companies will present their electric hybrid and efficient diesel engines. As India is the largest manufacturer of small cars in the world, there will be without doubt many new small car launches too. Hyundai’s Arvind Saxena was tight lipped about their plans, but said there is definitely something to watch out for.

A design contest and workshop for students is a promising sub event and I am particularly eager to know more about it, considering my own concept car project in progress. There will also be a unique concept of Motor Homes on display, which is essentially a luxury caravan concept and should be interesting.

My Auto Expo Media badge!

Closing thoughts: Although Pragati Maidan is a decent venue, it does not have the capacity to accommodate the ever growing Auto Expo. This year about 100 prospective participants were denied space which included 40 international exhibitors, and that’s a pity.  When I asked Mr. Rajive Kaul, he did mention that going forward an alternate venue could be an option. The organizers are claiming that this is the largest auto show in Asia, but the scale and size does not match up to international motor shows. And big manufacturers are still not willing to globally launch their vehicles here first. Case in point is the new BMW 3 series, which could have been displayed here considering India is one of their fastest growing markets, but will be revealed to the world only at the Detroit Motor Show which happens later.

Watch this space for more reports over the next few days, as I officially cover my first major Auto event!

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