12th Auto Expo 2014 : The Motor ShowPosted On: March 26, 2014 By : AutoLife Team
“FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE OF GETTING CLOSE WITH SOME OF THE BEST AND LATEST PRODUCTS IN THE INDIAN AND GLOBAL AUTOMOBILE MARKET.”
47 vehicle exhibitors, a total of 70 launches and a visitor footfall of 5,61,000 people in just a week’s span. In figures, that was pretty much the Auto Expo 2014 held at the India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, from 5-11 February, 2014. Thanks to the good folks at CG | MotoCorp, the authorized distributors of Maruti Suzuki in Nepal, we were flown in to Delhi to witness the event first-hand. The Indian Auto Expo is a biennial automotive show held in New Delhi, India around January-February. It is Asia’s largest motoring event in terms of visitor footfalls. From providing a platform to the Indian automotive industry, today it also provides a platform to the global industry to launch itself in the fast growing Indian market. With every edition, the Auto Expo has been getting bigger and this year was no exception. With India’s importance as a global automotive market growing bigger despite sales slowing down, the number of exciting launches and debuts were higher than ever before.
Visiting the Auto Expo was truly an eye-opener. The show was spectacular, with the best in the automobile business showcasing their best. It was an exciting show with new launches, radical concepts and some familiar favourites. The visitors were also treated to various engaging and entertaining activities with exhibitors putting up a host of interactive facilities and performances. It was truly a show fit to international standards and that’s definitely no mean feat. It was well organised with excellent attention to detail and the bare basics facilities were properly looked after. Interestingly, the organizers of the Auto Expo had also launched a multi-platform mobile application for the biennial automotive event. The app not only provided updated information about the expo at your finger tips, but also enabled users to reach their favourite stall in the venue while browsing through the site maps, list of participants, exhibits on display, entertainment shows and much more.
The flavour for this year was the affordable sedan segment, with many key players planning to make a foray into the category. While Suzuki displayed the Ciaz Concept, Hyundai showcased its Xcent, Ford displayed its Figo Concept and Tata Motors announced plans to launch Zest later this year, apart from a new hatchback Bolt. On the motorcycle front, Honda, Hero MotoCorp, Yamaha, Suzuki, Mahindra 2 Wheelers, TVS and Bajaj unveiled some exciting and innovative upcoming models for the Indian market. There was also a separate pavilion showcasing some of the most exquisite vintage vehicles in the world. The public response was incredible and with the like of premium brands like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Harley Davidson, Triumph, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi having put out their bests on display, the Auto Expo was a haven to any enthusiast. It was no easy feat finding a foothold to stand, jostling with the crowds and snaking towards the barricades, all eager to see the next big thing. For once, the pretty models were looking less appealing. The Auto Expo also saw some glamorous high profile visits from the likes of Sachin Tendulkar for BMW, Akshay Kumar for HMSI, Ranbir Kapoor for Hero MotoCorp, Priyanka Chopra for Jaguar Land Rover, Kareena Kapoor for DC Design, Ileana D’Cruz for Audi, Yami Gautam for Chevrolet and John Abraham for Yamaha.
The 2014 Auto Expo certainly was a smashing success and the event did serve up some exciting fare. It was very much structured compared to the past ones and well laid out. Lets hope the next one is even bigger and better.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SHOW
Among the key launches at the show was Maruti Suzuki’s hatchback Celerio, which boasts of an automatic gear shift and will go on sale with a killer price-tag between IC Rs.3.9 lakh – 4.96 lakh in Delhi. Maruti displayed its Authentics concept, which the company is now calling the ‘Ciaz’. Of course, the Ciaz sedan was just in concept form and the production version will be very much toned down. The striking concept previews what the next generation SX4 will look like. Alongside the Ciaz was the SX4 S-Cross, a crossover that’s scheduled to be launched in India soon. Maruti Suzuki showcased both the models to display their prowess and capability to expand into new segments.
In another avatar of its existing models, Maruti Suzuki also unveiled modified versions of their various existing vehicles like the Gypsy, Omni Van, Eeco, Wagon R, Ritz, Alto 800, Swift and SX4. These customized versions of their regular vehicles were showcased to display customers how their vehicles can be personalized. The Grand Vitara Luxion which is a heavily customized version of the Grand Vitara was also displayed along with the Swift Sport.
Audi had a limited range on display at the Auto Expo 2014 including the important new Audi A3 sedan, but the best looking was the Sport Quattro Concept. Dripping with typical Audi styling, this is a plug-in hybrid drive with a system output of 700 bhp. Also on display were the stunning A3 Cabriolet, TT, RS7, R8 V10 Spyder and Audi R18 e-Tron Quattro Le Mans racer.
DC Design had the Avanti sports car, Eleron SUV and TIA Concept Car on display. The company plans to roll out 500 Elerons and 1000 TIAs annually from 2016. It will also put India’s first indigenously built supercar the ‘Avanti’ in to production later this year. The unveiling was done by Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor.
Getting the most attention at the Fiat stall was the new Avventura SUV, basically an off-road, semi-rugged crossover based on the Punto’s platform, complete with a tail-gate-mounted spare wheel and ground clearance of 200mm. The updated Linea, with a new front end, was also displayed alongside the performance-oriented Fiat 500 Abarth.
BMW & MINI COOPER
BMW & Mini Cooper had one of the most exciting joint pavilions with a massive rush of crowd present constantly to check out their wide range of cars, accessories, interactive activities, etc. Speaking of BMW’s range of cars on display, the star had to be the i8 plug-in hybrid. The BMW i8 has a plug-in hybrid system with gorgeous razor-sharp styling from the future and is expected to be launched globally by this year end. Other cars in the range were BMW M6 Gran Coupe, BMW 520d, BMW 320d, BMW 3-Series GranTurismo, BMW 118d, BMW X1, BMW X5, BMW Z4 sDrive35i, Mini John Cooper Works, Mini Cooper S Countryman, Mini Cooper S Countryman, Mini Cooper Convertible and Mini Cooper S Hatch.
Ford globally unveiled the Figo compact sedan concept which is in line with Ford’s global design language. The Figo concept from Ford looks superb and this is another ‘EcoSport’ in the waiting. Ford’s award winning 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost engine will power the higher variants of the Figo Concept, though the power output of this engine is yet to be confirmed. Also shown was the updated Fiesta sedan with an almost Aston-Martin like face and the EcoSport was placed creatively on the pavilion wall. Ford’s pavilion was not just about cars, it was also about awesome presentations with a lively atmosphere. Ford had an almost 100 feet long theatre panel and awesome videos playing on it with live innovative presentations.
Chevrolet revealed their new SUV concept called the Adra. This is their weapon of choice to compete in the highly lucrative compact SUV segment and will eventually lead production version in two years or so. The Adra is a brainchild of the Indian designers and has been designed at the GM technical centre in India. When it came to some American muscle, it could not get much better than the new Corvette Stingray and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on display. The General Motors pavilion also had the Chevrolet Trailblazer, new Beat and a vintage Master Eagle Phaeton along with a range of modified Cruze, Sail and Beat.
Honda showed two production ready cars at the Expo, the Mobilio MPV and the next-generation Jazz. The Mobilio, based on the Brio platform, is a seven-seat people mover that shares a lot with the tiny hatch. The next-generation Jazz is based on the City’s platform. Honda also showed the XS-1, a compact SUV concept and its stunning NSX supercar concept that has a mid-mounted V6 petrol motor coupled to a pair of electric motors for true supercar performance. The Amaze, Brio, new City and Accord Hybrid were also displayed.
Hyundai Motor India Ltd, the second-largest car maker in India, expanded its product portfolio with the launch of the new generation sports utility vehicle, Santa Fe. Also, there was the unveiling of the Grand i10-based Xcent saloon. The sub-four-metre Xcent is Hyundai’s first proper rival to the Swift Dzire and the Honda Amaze. The showstopper however was the HND-9 concept. It has a 3.3 litre turbo GDi engine and 8-speed auto transmission with 368 bhp. Other cars on display were the entire range of Hyundai vehicles in India along with the racy Hyundai i20 WRC. The spacious pavilion had focused on all aspects, making it an ideal interactive pavilion.
JAGUAR – LAND ROVER
As expected, the Jaguar – Land Rover pavilion was the most exotic one at the Auto Expo and left the audience easily stunned with some of its concept and production cars alike. Jaguar had its F-type Coupé, XJ LWB, C-X17 SUV concept and F-Type Project 7 sportscar concept there. And, Land Rover showcased its most expensive Rangie yet, the Range Rover LWB, which shared space with Freelander 2, Discovery, Range Rover Sport and the 2014 Evoque that now come with a nine-speed gearbox.
MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA
The Indian carmaker had a host of cars on display. The spotlight though was on the Halo electric sportscar, Mahindra Formula-E Car, SsangYong LIV-1 Concept, XUV500 Hybrid, customized Thar, Bolero Stinger and Quanto with an automated manual transmission.
Mercedes-Benz had on display the production-ready version of its fantastic GLA-Class SUV. Also sharing space with the GLA was the CLA 45 AMG which is a pumped up A-Class in AMG guise. It’s got a 2.0-litre petrol engine that puts out 360bhp, making it the most powerful four-cylinder engine in the world, yet the most efficient in its class. Other beauties in the Mercedes-Benz Pavilion were C-Class, SLK 55 AMG, S-Class, M-Guard, G63 AMG, GL-Class and the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W04.
Skoda officially announced the debut of the new Superb and Yeti for the Indian market along with the display of the Octavia and a customized Rapid.
Volkswagen had the compact Taigun SUV Concept at the Auto Expo 2014. The SUV is based on the Up hatchback platform and is powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine. The company is currently evaluating the feasibility of launching the car here in India. The Taigun is VW’s answer to the mini SUV segment which is proving to be the popcorn of the automotive industry in places like India and Nepal. Other attractions were the Polo WRC Edition, New Jetta and Passat.
Renault had a pavilion of truly international standards with a jazzy ambience. Renault showcased the funky KWLD concept, which looked totally out of this world. The other show stoppers were the Renault Megane RS, Renault Zoe Electric Car and the Renault Lotus F1 Car. Also at the stand were the updated Koleos SUV, Fluence, Scala, Pulse and a modified Duster
Nissan had a limited showcase. A mildly updated Sunny and Evalia was revealed alongside its race-winning GT-R GT500 and the Friend-ME concept, which points to what future Nissan sedans will look like. The Terrano and Micra was also present and Nissan had a high level of interaction with the crowd through the Nissan Safe Driving Forum and Nissan GT Academy.
Another big news maker at the expo this year was Tata Motors. They unveiled two brand new offerings, the Bolt hatchback and the Zest sedan, both of which will be powered by the new 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine. Tata continued their aggressive product strategy with the display of the Nexon SUV Concept and ConnectNext Concept Car along with the Nano A/T, Nano Twist Active, Add-Venture, Storme Ladakh Edition, Sumo Extreme and Tata Prima Racing Truck.
Toyota had the GT-86 TRD, Etios Liva Cross, new Corolla Altis, Etios Motor Racing Version, Land Cruiser Prado and the Prius on display. The next-generation Corolla was unveiled at the Auto Expo 2014 and the sharply designed car shows Toyota’s push at making cars look more appealing. Toyota also showed the rugged Etios Cross, basically an Etios Liva hatch with additional body cladding.
Bajaj’s stall was packed with its Discover range on one end and the soon-to-be-launched 375cc Pulsar variants. Bajaj introduced two versions of the new gen Pulsar namely SS440 and CS400, both powered by the KTM sourced 375cc. This single cylinder engine is likely to produce the power output of 40bhp. While the beefy CS400 is a naked sports cruiser, the futuristic SS400 is a fully faired sportsbike. The RE-60 concept car also made an appearance along with the U-Car Concept.
Harley-Davidson launched the most anticipated and affordable Harley in its range, the Street 750, at a highly competitive price of IC Rs. 4.10 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The stall also featured various customized versions of the Street 750 along with others in the range such as the Fat Boy, Street Bob and Street Glide.
Other than showing all the models currently on sale, HMSI launched its first 125cc scooter, the Activa 125. Honda had on display its CBR650F and the CBR500R, both of which will make it to India. Also at the stand was an attractive concept motorcycle developed entirely under Honda’s Research and Development centre in India – The Honda CX-01. Of course, its superbikes already on sale in India like the CBR1000RR, Gold Wing, Fury and CB1000R were there along with the RC213V Moto GP motorcycle. Honda had also set up a track outside, to demonstrate the power and precision of their ATVs.
MAHINDRA 2 WHEELERS
Mahindra 2 Wheelers took the covers off its redesigned 300cc Mojo Motorcycle at the Auto Expo 2014, which had quite a few more distinctive features in comparison to the previous model showcased. Based on the Centuro and running on the same Mci-5 engine & the Centuro frame, two other concept motorcycles were also unveiled – The Scrambler concept and The Cafe Racer concept. Up on display was also Mahindra’s FIM MotoGP racing bike MGP30.
Piaggio presented its soon-to-be-launched Vespa S, followed by the unveiling of the Vespa 946 and the Liberty. Piaggio also unveiled the Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring, Moto Guzzi V7 Racer along with the Aprilia RSV4 and Aprilia Caponord 1200.
Suzuki unveiled the Let’s 110cc scooter and the 150cc Gixxer, both of which will be launched very soon. The Auto Expo also witnessed the launch of Suzuki’s adventure motorcycle, the V-Strom in India. Suzuki also had there its range of high-end motorcycles and showed its recently launched Inazuma.
Hero MotoCorp showcased its entire current range at the Expo. The company showed the recently unveiled Xtreme, Dash, Leap hybrid scooter, the soon-to-be-launched HX250R and a diesel scooter concept called the RNT. The recently launched Karizma R and Karizma ZMR also made it to the stand. Hero also lined up its motorcycles built with Erik Buell Racing. Other than this, the 620cc Hastur concept, along with a new 125cc scooter Dare and two variants of the 150cc scooter called ZIR were also unveiled, which the company will launch in the near future.
Triumph Motorcycles introduced a new version of its flagship motorcycle, the Daytona 675R. All of Triumph’s bikes including the Bonneville, Bonneville T100, Speed Triple, Rocket III Roadster, Street Triple, Thruxton, Tiger 800 XC, Tiger Explorer and Daytona 675 were at the Expo .
Yamaha launched the 110cc Alpha, a family scooter priced at IC Rs. 49,518 (ex-showroom, Delhi) and brought its litre class superbikes currently available in India, along with the upgraded version of the FZ-S, and the Ray scooter with two new colour combinations. The R25 concept was also present at the Yamaha stall.
The TVS stall had the Jupiter, Phoenix, TVS Sport, RTR 180 ABS and the Scooty Pep from its current models on display. The bike maker also unveiled quite a few exciting models including concepts and upgrades. The TVS Wego was there with three new colour combinations and this scooter is expected to hit the market soon. The soon-to-be-launched Scooty Zest featuring a 110cc engine with fresh styling cues was also on display. On the motorcycle front, TVS brought in a redesigned and re-engineered variant of the Star called the Star City plus. A 300cc sports version of the Apache RTR along with the 250cc Draken-X21 concept and the automatic scooter called the Graphite, with paddle shift technology were also at the stand. The TVS Draken is powered by 249.2cc engine that has a max power of 38.50 bhp of power 23 nm of torque.