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Overwhelming Chinese flavour

AutoExpo 2020 was a lacklustre event with less participation by OEMS.

Economic slowdown and Coronavirus threat saw less than usual participation by leading auto manufacturers at the Expo, making this year’s edition not so exciting. The Expo was dominated by electric mobility concepts and vehicles with a lot of Chinese flavour.

Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motors, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Renault, Volkswagen and new entrants such as Kia Motors and MG Motors participated. Mercedes-Benz was the lone participant in the luxury vehicle segment. In two-wheelers, except Suzuki, none of the large OEMs participated. In commercial vehicles, Force Motors announced new plans.

New entrants

Chinese passenger vehicle makers put up an impressive show with product line up and technological capabilities. Their interest in India is driven by the success of MG Motors and its Hector SUV.

Two Chinese manufactureres, Great Wall Motors (GWM) and Haima Automobile plan to launch their vehicles in India in the next few months. While MG Motor has garnered bookings of more than 50,000 units so far for its MG Hector (launched in June 2019).

GWM is likely to be the first of the two Chinese OEMs to finalise assembly and launch of its SUVs. The company plans to invest $1 billion (about Rs.7000 crore) in India in a phased manner.

SAIC-owned MG Motors unveiled its luxury SUV Gloster and the luxury MPV G10. It is targeting sales of a lakh units by 2021. MG Motor also showcased 14 advanced vehicles.

Korean Kia Motors has secured orders for about 1.2 lakh units for its SUV Seltos in the last five months. Kia has introduced two new products for the Indian market – the Carnival premium MPV and the Sonet compact SUV.

More futuristic concepts in EVs

The biennial AutoExpo 2020 showcased a lot of concept cars, including Maruti Suzuki’s Futuro-e, the Hyundai Le Fil Rouge, Tata Sierra, the Mahindra Funster…

Maruti made an aggressive pitch to go green and said it would plan to sell a million green cars – CNG, hybrids and electric cars under its ‘Mission Green Million.’ Maruti Suzuki unveiled its 1.5-litre new Vitara Brezza. Brezza, launched in 2016, has sold more than 500,000 units and is the fastest to achieve the milestone in the SUV segment.
Hyundai Motors, India’s second-largest car manufacturer, unveiled its new 2020 premium SUV Tucson and all-new Creta to further strengthen its position in the Indian SUV market. It hit the leadership position in the SUV market during the second half of 2019, with sales of 1.71 lakh units. At the AutoExpo, Hyundai showcased 13 new cars, future-ready technologies and concepts.

Tata Motors showcased its sub-4-metre SUV to be launched soon. The other Tata concept vehicle that grabbed the eyeballs was the Sierra, the electric concept car.

With its focus on CESS — Connected, Electric, Shared and Safe — as the future of mobility, Tata Motors had four global unveils, a pre-production and a commercial launch and showcased 14 commercial and 12 passenger vehicles.

Europe’s largest carmaker Volkswagen introduced its new SUV family of cars. Skoda Vision IN was also
displayed.

Mercedes-Benz India had an impressive display with four new vehicles. Inaugurating the event, Union Minister of Transport Nitin Gadkari said: “the government will be developing better infrastructure, adding approximately 40,000 km road network and 23 express highways.” Gadkari unveiled Olectra-BYD’s C9 – first electric inter-city coach in India. The zero-emission electric bus, can travel up to 300 km on a single charge that can be charged within 3 hours.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the principal organiser of the AutoExpo, reported record footfall of 6.08 lakh. At the AutoExpo 2020, 35 electric vehicles were launched and 15 concepts were showcased.
– R Seetharan

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