Sunday, February 9, 2014

Report & Pictures : 12th Auto Expo, 2014 (7th - 11th February, 2014).

The 12th Auto Expo 2014 is being organized by Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) at Expo India Mart, Greater Noida. Organized once in two years, the Auto Expo is world’s second largest auto show. Every auto manufacturers take part in the event and showcase new launches, concept models and current line-up. Along with Auto manufacturers, many other companies including auto magazines, auto websites, accessories & spare part manufacturers also take part in the motor show.

(Click on any picture to open a higher resolution version)

This is the first time in the history of Auto Expo when it is being organized at a new place instead of Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. Last time there was utter chaos in the Expo which not only hampered the image of the country in front of foreign players but also disturbed City’s equilibrium with insane traffic jams and metro stations in Delhi that too on Media & Business day. Companies had protested vehemently about the uncontrollable crowds & mismanagement. Following that it was decided that Auto Expo will move out of Delhi and Expo India Mart at Greater Noida was chosen as a place where more enthusiasts will be able to enjoy the event instead of junta who came only to collect brochures, pamphlets and to gaze glamorous models. 

Did that worked in this Auto Expo? Did things solved by moving the event out of Delhi? I really don’t think so. Auto Expo 2014 is an event for automobile enthusiasts, early adopters and for the prospective buyers of the latest launches. It is not an event for people who just come there to collect brochures, bags and posters! Auto Expo is not an event for people who comes there for time pass and outing, it is not a picnic spot. Neither is it an event for love birds or newlyweds to celebrate the pre valentine week! Nor it is an event for so called VIP’s families. There were kids of those so called VIPs who were kicking the tyres of luxury cars and playing hide & seek around them! And we poor people could not even get a chance to click a picture of those cars. Many people who came to expo were only interested in booth models instead of cars!  The mad rush at the luxury cars hall including Mercedes & BMW yesterday left me wondering if they were distributing all their cars for free!

The Management too had some flaws in organizing the event. The parking section had very small signs indicating the lanes in which the cars were parked. People were searching for their cars without any clue in the parking area after returning from the event. There was no shuttle service back from the Expo to the parking venue – even the elderlies were walking back to the parking area in the chilly evening. The amount of time it took for someone to reach Auto Expo Main Gate from the parking area exceeds the amount of time one takes to reach Auto Expo Venue in Greater Noida from Gurgaon or Rohini!  Attendants at Bookmyshow’s box office ticket exchange counters were asking for photo copies/original debit/credit cards for exchanging the tickets – what’s the logic behind that. Surprisingly there was hardly any queue at the venue’s ticket counter. Looks like the whole world booked tickets using bookmyshow! The organizers should do something to decrease the footfalls of brochure collectors and increase the footfalls of real auto enthusiasts to the future Auto Expo event. The minimum entry ticket for Auto Expo should be Rs.1000 for public and Rs. 2000 for business hours to keep the brochure, pamphlets & bag collector junta at bay!  Otherwise that day is not far when Auto Expo will be shifted to some secluded place in the mountains of Himalayas :p

 Now let’s focus on the ‘real’ Auto Expo. There were few good launches at the Expo which will spice up the auto industry. Here is the mini report of all manufacturers participated in the Auto Expo 2014.


 In the small car segment Maruti launched automatic manual ‘Celerio’ in the price range of Rs 4-5 lakhs. Celerio with an engine capacity of 990 cc shares lots of cues from Maruti A-star. It is just like a typical Maruti hatchback with conventional style & design. Celerio is Maruti’s attempt to pull the crowd from i10 grand. In the Maruti stall there was another car attracting visitors and that’s Maruti SX4 S cross. It looks good and will compete against the likes of Duster/EcoSport. In the luxury segment, Maruti displayed a concept car ‘Chiaz’ which shares its futuristic design cues with Maruti SX4’s replacement YL1 coming later this year. Maruti also displayed all its current lineup in customized avatars with body kit and stickers.


 Unlike last expo, Honda did managed to make things exciting in their hall by introducing Honda Mobilio – which will energize the MUV segment. Honda Mobilio will target Maruti Ertiga and Toyota Innova. With correct & aggressive pricing (especially for diesel variant), Honda Mobilio will sell well because of its good looks, Honda badge and reliability.  New Honda Jazz was also on display and it looked much attractive than before. Jazz will be available in both petrol & diesel variants. Honda also displayed all its current line up including the New City, Honda Brio, Amaze & CR-V. Honda Accord was also present in hybrid avatar. There were couple of international unveiling along with Honda’s concept car NSX and Honda XS1. 


Toyota introduced two new models for our country including the new Toyota Corolla Altis and Toyota Etios Cross. Earlier Both Corolla and Etios were aesthetically boring cars but these two grabs the attention. Etios Cross now looks like a cross over than a hatchback. It definitely looks sporty when compared to Etios Liva. Other than these two models Toyota displayed all their under production models including Toyota Etios, Fortuner, Prius & Land Cruiser. Toyota’s sports car GT 86 was also on display which was a crowd puller.


Fiat showcased its facelifted Fiat Linea & current Fiat Punto. There were two new unvelings as well for India – The Fiat Avventura and Fiat Abarth 500. Both cars are expected to launch later this year. The new Linea looks even better with facelift. So far it is one of the best cars in terms of handling in C-segment. Drive a Hyundai Verna & Fiat Linea back to back to know what I really mean. Avventura is Fiat’s attempt to compete with Ford EcoSport. Avventura looked very attractive in flesh.


Mahindra along with Ssyangyong showcased their current lineups and few concept & international models. Mahindra also displayed their Formula one car in the expo. XUV 5OO was present in two different variants – a hybrid model and a performance tuned XUV with 195 BHP on tap. Mahindra Bolero was displayed with customized kit for adventure sports enthusiasts. The good old Mahindra Scorpio was also on display. Halo – Mahindra’s concept 2 seater sports car grabbed attention. Mahindra also showcased few electric cars including E2O and Verito in the auto expo.  Ssyangyong showcased their sporty SUV – Rexton. Liv-1 –their concept SUV was also launched in India. Mahindra also displayed its commercial vehicles. 


Nissan’s stall was quite ordinary with a facelifted Sunny & less known Evalia. For eye candy Nissan showcased their concept car ‘Friend Me’ and the Nissan GT-R sports car. GT-R has over whopping 500+ horses under the hood. Nissan also displayed its regular line up including Nissan Micra & Nissan Terrano. Enthusiasts were also expecting New X-Trail but that did not happened.


Skoda also showcased all their current lineup including refreshed Skoda Yeti, Skoda Superb & recently launched Skoda Octavia.  There was no hatchback concept on display. Fabia is history now. Skoda Rapid was also left unchanged for the Auto Expo 2014. Both VW Vento & Skoda Rapid which are based on same platform are expected to get a revamp soon.


Volkswagen displayed all its regular models including the VW Vento, VW Polo & VW Jetta. VW is in no hurry to revamp the Polo & Vento considering the fact that Honda City & Hyundai Verna are ruling the C-segment. Volkswagen also introduced its sub 4 meters SUV – Taigun. It’s going to be some serious competition in the sub 4 meter SUV segment. Almost all manufacturers are gearing up with their sub 4 meter SUVs ever since they have noted the popularity of this segment in our country with Ford EcoSport! VW also displayed customized and sports variant of Polo hatchback.

Tata Motors

Upon entering the Tata’s hall one will see a nicely modified Tata Safari & Tata Sumo for off roader enthusiasts and adventure sports. Tata has named Safari as Ladakh Edition especially for the Ladakh freaks. Tata Sumo never looked so sporty with its extreme 4 * 4 edition. It’s high time for Tata to drop the taxi image attached with its car especially the Indica and Indigo. In this attempt Tata has introduced two very nice looking cars namely Tata Bolt & Tata Zest.  Tata Bolt and Tata Zest are going to replace Tata Indica and Tata Indigo respectively. Both cars look aesthetically way better and futuristic than current Indica/Indigo. Tata Zest will give some serious competition to the likes of Maruti Dzire & Honda Amaze. Tata also introduced its concept SUV – Nexon which when launched will target the sub 4 meter segment. 


Renault India showcased its newly launched SUV – Koleos, Renault Fluence, Renualt Pulse, Renualt Scala, Renault Duster and Duster sports edition with minor sticker job. A concept car called Kwid was also on display on Renualt’s stand along with Renault’s electric concept car – ZOE and international Megane Coupe. Some modifications was expected to Duster which is losing its market share to EcoSport but Renault seems to be following conservative approach  by not playing with Duster’s exterior which are in fact quite popular among masses. 


Hyundai launched 2014 Santa Fe at the Auto Expo. It now wears a more aggressive look which was somewhat missing in outgoing model. I don’t know how many takers Hyundai will find for Santa Fe considering its whopping price tag of Rs. 25-30 lakhs. Another noteworthy launch from Hyundai is the Hyundai Xcent – the successor of Hyundai Accent. It is basically the Hyundai i10 grand with boot. Hyundai Xcent will compete right against the rivals – Maruti Dzire & Honda Amaze. Hyundai showcased its entire lineup in the expo but surprisingly the Hyundai Santro was missing. Probably it’s going to be permanently discontinued soon. Hyundai also had a customized i20 on display along with HND-9 named concept luxury sports car.


Ford also took the advantage of the Auto Expo by introducing the Ford Figo concept sedan which will be under 4 meter mark. It is expected to have both petrol & diesel variant. Ford Fiesta also gets a facelift with some changes at the front. Fiesta now wears a more modern and sophisticated look. But in my humble opinion Fiesta needs an aggressive pricing & marketing more importantly than a facelift.  Ford displayed all it’s under production models including Endeavour, Figo and EcoSport.

Luxury Cars – Audi, BMW & Mercedes Benz

The hall no-15 which has luxury car maker’s trio – Audi, BMW & Mercedes Benz was jam-packed with crowd. I hardly could see a BMW or Mercedes car. Still I managed to get the glimpse of Audi A3 sedan which will be Audi’s attempt to compete with BMW 1 series and Mercedes Benz A class. Audi A3 will be launched later this year. A convertible variant of A3 was also on display. Audi also displayed R8 V10, RS 7, Q5, Q7 in limited edition variants along with regular under production models. Audi also introduced the Audi Sports Quattro which has a v8 engine producing 700 BHPs. Dillip Chabbaria Too displayed some of its fascinating and exquisite designs.

Jaguar also showcased its current line up including the updated Land Rover Freelander, Range Rover & Land Rover Discovery. Jaguar XJ super saloon was also attracting lots of eye balls.  

I just could not enter the BMW & Mercedes Benz stands due to insane crowd. Somehow I got to know from their support staff that BMW has launched the 3 series GT version in India for around forty lakhs. BMW will also import M6 Grand coupe to India from this year. There was also talks of BMW i8 sports car but I could not get a glimpse of it. BMW also showcased its current line up including 118d Sports , 320d Sports , 520d Modern line, X1 xLine, new X5 and new Z4. Mini cooper S hatch was also on display. I simply could not get into Mercedes’s stand due to huge rush so no info & pics for Mercedes. 

Motorcycles & Scooters

In the motorcycles department, Bajaj has electrified the biking industry by introducing the Bajaj Pulsar 400 with 375cc liquid cooled engine with FI. It looks very modern & futuristic and different from the current breed of pulsars. Pulsar 400 will be available in both fully faired and naked sport version. Bajaj also displayed its entire under production model in the expo including Discover. Bajaj also showcased its cute and modern compact concept car. 

Honda Motorcycles & Scooters India (HMSI) unveiled the CBR 650F bike in  India which has power output of 86 BHP. Honda CBR 500R was also unveiled along with CX-01 – the concept model for India. HMSI also displayed its refreshed Honda Activa with 125cc engine. Many international & sports bikes were also showcased in the event along with all under production models. 

Hero Moto Corp also introduced few new models in the Auto Expo. First one is Hastur bike which is concept motorcycle with 620cc engine (79 BHP). It has naked street fighter look similar on the lines of Duke. Hero Moto Corp also showcased the production ready HX250R sports bike with 250 cc engine pumping 33 BHP power. Hero also introduced the facelifted Karizma R and Karizma ZMR along with all regular models produced by Hero Moto Corp. 

Mahindra also showcased its new Mojo with new color scheme. Mojo’s engine produces 27 BHP power and its power to weight ratio is brilliant considering its low kerb weight. Mahindra Centuro was also on display. Suzuki motorcylces also showcased its new Gixer, V storm & Inazuma. Suzuki also showcased all its superbike lineup Hayabusa.  Harley Davidson also showcased all their popular lineups including the street 750, street bob and street glide. Yamaha had its Moto GP edition bike M1 on display along with superbikes R1, Vmax etc. Rest Yamaha displayed all its bikes including R15, SZ-R, Fazer and a new scooter – Alpha. There were stalls for bicycles also.


Many other companies associated with automobile industry also had put their stalls in the Auto Expo including AutoCarIndia & Overdrive magazines, Auto websites including XBHP, Auto care parts manufacturers etc.

All in all, Auto Expo 2014 had some really nice & surprising launches & unveiling. All these new models will make things very competitive in an already overcrowded car & bikes market. Though it is a win win situation for the customers but at the same time it will be tough for them to choose the right machine. 

That’s all for Auto Expo 2014.

Some parting shots

For complete album please visit -  Pictures - 12th Auto Expo, 2014 (7th - 11th February, 2014)


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