Honda

Honda

NADA Autoshow 2011

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Nepal Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is a non-profit organization established with the primary objective of contributing towards the automobile sector of Nepal through an organized channel. Since 1998, it has been organizing the NADA Auto Show every two years. This year too, the event was jointly organized by NADA and Global Exposition & Management Services Pvt. Ltd (GEMS Pvt. Ltd) at Bhrikuti Mandap Exhibition Hall, Kathmandu during 7-11 September. The theme of the Auto Show this year was Road Safety and efforts were made to create awareness and educate the public about Road Safety and Traffic Discipline. NADA had also tied up with the Valley Traffic police who had stalls at the Auto Show to generate awareness about safety.

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Being one of the most anticipated and the only existing auto show in the country, it was obvious that Nepalese auto enthusiasts were all charged up to attend the 6th edition of NADA Auto Show. It was evident from the crowd of 40,000 who graced the show, that few had surpassed the chance to have hands on experience with the latest wheels available in the country. Although the crowd was a little sparser than expected on the opening day, the turnout was pretty decent in the end. It maybe due to the fact that the event had started on a working day and that too during working hours.

We think media promotion could have been lot better since most of the visitors had come to know about the expo only through word of mouth. Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun inaugurated the event. Mr. Saurabh Jyoti, the President of NADA, highlighted the current status and drawbacks of the Nepalese auto industry, bringing into light issues such as excess taxation on automobiles, lack of quality roads, emission regulations, and the need of government support regarding such issues. Our honourable minister in return ensured full support in bringing the issues to the attention of the government.

 

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After the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, the expo opened for the public but the surprising aspect was witnessing some stalls still working on their last minute touch-ups. The expo venue was designed to accommodate a primary and secondary arena, safety riding ground, outdoor display areas, test drive zone and a seminar hall. Sadly, the continuous down pour of the previous nights played havoc on the concrete floor of the secondary arena. Visitors literally had to wade through the waterlogged flooring to view the exhibits and some even had to balance themselves on the swampy concrete blocks. Though enthusiastic visitors still found their way into the exhibits, it did somehow overshadow the significance of the secondary arena. A clear floor plan mentioning the locations and stall numbers could have been provided at the help desk area or in the main entrance to ease the browsing experience. Nevertheless, NADA and GEMS pulled off the event well and we at Autolife would like to congratulate them for coming up with the effort to revive the auto industry in this current state of market slump.

 

For those who missed the event, let us break it down to you for what our automobile dealers had on offer.

 

TATA motors had presented their much acclaimed Nano and no doubt, it was the most asked about machine in the show. It was admired by a lot of families with the kids seeming more enthusiastic. It was almost like a toy they wanted to take home right away. Nobody could really pass through the TATA stall without giving the Nano a second look. Truly a people’s car indeed! The all-new and fully loaded Manza was also much of a curious gaze for the visitors with its value for money offer. We look forward to put the Manza on a road test soon and see if it actually lives up to the unforgiving Nepalese roads. But, for us the absolute charmer was the all-new Tata Aria. Right from the get-go, we loved everything about it – its overwhelming list of techs that changes the way you drive, its well crafted dash with brilliant quality as well as the big comfy space to the big front grill that adds to its sophisticated external styling.

 

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The KIA stall was a popular corner at the expo with their new improved Picanto on display. Picanto was able to garner a lot of attention with its complete makeover. The new Sportage was also a treat as visitors could not help but admire its new avatar. Soul, another new Kia product, was on display beside the older Rio that was on a giveaway offer. All of the cars were well placed in the spacious platform making it easy for the visitors to manoeuvre around them while inspecting their grandeur.

 

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Mitsubishi was there to remind everyone of their historical market presence in Nepal with their display of the three most stunning vehicles that looked ever ready to tear up the Nepalese streets. Awesome would be an understatement for the sleek ASX that was on display. The city sized SUV definitely stands out amongst the rest of the SUV’s in the market. Lancer LX, on the other hand, redefined luxury. Attention to detail was apparent and the gleam in the eyes of the visitors said it all. The reputed Pajero put the exclamation mark for Mitsubishi. Always willing to tackle the most difficult of terrains, the Pajero is known for being one of the best and reliable off-roaders in town. Many people were also excited to feel the Pajero first hand, the big burly jeep also being the choice of our top politicians and business executives.

 

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Ford was also a force to be reckoned with at the exhibition. With the brand new Fiesta gracing one end and the Ranger robustly resting atop a stone-barricaded platform on the other, visitors could not stop themselves from flocking over to Ford.  The Fiesta Classic and Figo were also displayed. Accompanied by support staff eager to help with visitors’ every query, visitors were more than happy to give the stall a look around.

 

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As far as the display arena was concerned, the biggest hit hands down, was Hyundai. They definitely hit the nail on the head. Their extravagant blue banner demanded everyone’s attention, and they got every bit of it. Including framed displays of their global campaigns was a smart attempt to emphasize their global presence and how the brand is now becoming a household name. Apart from their remarkable presentation, their complete range of automobiles on display was commendable as well. Ranging from the evergreen Santro to the robust SantaFe, Hyundai sure did not miss out on anything. The main attractions were the new elegant Sonata and the new sporty crossover Tucson ix35. It was also interesting to see the amount of attention that the Santro was still able to get. Being the prominent dominator in the segment for many years in India and Nepal, the Santro still seems the first choice for many buyers, which is not a surprise at all. After all, it has everything you need in a city car on a budget price tag. If you are not fussy about the looks and presence and will suffice with a car that does what it says, is comfortable, affordable, cheap to run, and a brand that is globally renowned and reliable, then Santro has to be one of the first choices. Hyundai even had a separate service stall set up right across the main display where staff were available to assist on bookings, service briefings and other enquiries that people may have had. Hyundai certainly made its statement as it left no stones unturned to cater their visitors in every way possible.

 

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Class and elegance, have always been well epitomized by Skoda. MAW the sole distributer of Skoda auto had its latest products on the stall – the all rounder Yeti, elegant Laura and the luxury Superb. The Superb, we must say, is a real breath taker aesthetically. We did miss the new Fabia that was already launched in India last year. The A segment or rather the “world of hatch” is what’s abuzz these days for the commercial and city buyers, so we felt its presence was a must. On a lighter note, the Yeti mascot accompanying the Skoda Yeti was a refreshing touch especially with kids taking photographs with it, sometimes inappropriately poking the Yeti in the nose.

 

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One of the major entrants at the expo was Volkswagen. The unveiling of the Vento and Polo at the expo added more appeal to their already extravagant range. The Tiguan and its larger brother- the Touareg didn’t fail to amaze visitors either. It was a shame though that the Touareg could not be properly accommodated in their stall, probably due to lack of space. Still that did not diminish the Touareg’s appeal. Surprisingly, the very car that put Volkswagen on the map was not displayed. To experience the new Beetle first hand would have been a cherry on top as people were expecting to see the newer avatar of the classic Beetle up close.

 

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Equally exciting to look around was Vijay Motors, with Chevrolet strutting their cars amidst the famous Aveo, the stylish hatchback U-VA, along with the luxurious Optra and the robust Captiva. However, it was the Cruze that managed to stand out. Its muscular build was further emphasized by its mesh grill that attracted everyone’s gaze. The jaw dropping interiors were definitely an add-on to enhance the awesomeness of this beast.

 

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Fiat had on display their latest products, Linea and Punto. Since Fiat had made a re-entry in the market, they did get a lot of enquiries and the elegantly designed Linea and Punto were loved and appreciated by many. Great Wall Motors put up their usual line up with the addition of the new Wingle 5 pick-up jeep. Mahindra displayed their Bolero and Scorpio on a rugged platform. We hoped to catch the new but classic designed Thar jeep that was recently launched in India, but unfortunately, Thar has not yet arrived in Nepal. Constant Group had on display their line up of SsangYong products with the Korando being the crowd puller and introduced sporty Proton Savvy hatchback. Perodua also did lure visitors to their booth displaying the mileage capabilities of their products on the various routes of Nepal. Bama Motors displayed their Chery range and received good number of bookings considering the comparatively cheaper pricing of their products.

 

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Demak exhibited their 200cc Cougar, a pretty decent attempt at a cruiser, along with their DMX-R dirt bike, which is priced very reasonably for a good enough dirt bike. Another new name in the biking market was the recently launched Italian Piaggio, displaying the brand new cruiser type Citypard 150, the spunky scooter iShine 100 and the city rider BYQ125. We hope Piaggio will bring in more interesting products from their line up in the future. Last but not the least, Hartford had a silent presence in the expo with the old and successfully selling VR dirt bikes and Global Bikes made their presence in the market felt.

 

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Amongst its usual line up, Maruti Suzuki had featured customized versions of A-Star, Ritz and Swift. However, it was the modified Swift, set at a premium of Rs. 95,000 compared to the factory model, which stole the show at Suzuki. The support staff were always kept busy by the steady flow of visitors at the stall. We were hoping that Maruti Suzuki would disclose a little information about the release date of the all-new Swift that was recently launched in India with record breaking pre-bookings, but no such info was provided and now it seems like we might have to wait a little longer. Overall, the crowd around the Maruti Suzuki stall proved that they were definitely still in the game despite of the latest invasion from the Germans, Italians, Koreans and Americans in the auto industry.

 

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The other motorbike giant on display was Suzuki. They had the mean B-King 1300, GSX-R600, GSR600, GZ250 and DR200SE surrounding the amazing Burgman 400 Scooter which turned out to be the main attraction of the stall. Probably because it was too huge for a scooter and looked like it could easily swallow two other commercial scooters. Amongst its more commercial names, the Slingshot and AN125 were present. We did feel that the small allocated stall was having a tough time accommodating these giants. Suzuki could have done better with the stall presentation for the enthusiastic visitors considering its awesome line up of bikes. And yes the last auto expo’s main attraction, the Hayabusa was definitely missed.

 

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Amongst the Honda four wheelers, the all rounder City and the premium SUV CR-V were exhibited. We would have loved to get our hands on the luxurious Accord and the Honda Jazz which were missing in the display. However, it was exciting to learn about the soon to be launched Honda Brio.

 

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Honda Motorcycles as always did not let us down. With some of the finest bikes from the likes of the CB1000R, Hornet CB600F, CBR600RR to the XR Tornado lined up, it was a treat for the bikers to be present at the Honda booth. However, it was definitely the highly awaited CBR250R that was the centre of attention. Interestingly Honda also had a Safety Riding Simulator for visitors to try out keeping in mind the theme of road safety. The initiative did help visitors to explore safe riding. Hats off to Honda for their safety awareness campaigns, especially in Nepal where road safety is immensely lacking.

 

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Another crowd pleaser was Yamaha. It was hard not to locate the Yamaha stall in the expo with music and announcements continuously blaring on their stereo and extravagant lightings gracing the stall. It was definitely the best stall in terms of design and attraction for bike manufacturers. The magnificent lighting illuminated their wide range of bikes. With their recent unveilings the YZF R6 and the XJ6 gracing the podium, the crowd around Yamaha did not come as a surprise. And the crowd was hooked to the stalls with their offer of interactive activities like quiz sessions, face painting, photo shoot with the models and bikes, etc. However, we suspect the popularity with the photo sessions may have had something to do with the beautiful models that accompanied them in the photographs rather than the bikes. For the visitors’ pleasure Yamaha also played videos of motorsports events sponsored by them that took place in Nepal. The more commercial bikes on display were the FZ-S, SZ and everyone’s favourite R15.

 

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Bajaj definitely stood out with their amazing graffiti background, but could have done much more with the lighting and customer interaction. They displayed their range of motorbikes on sturdy revolving platforms as well as stationery ones. The Pulsars were placed aggressively on stands in different positions. The new red and black paint scheme gave the Bajaj Pulsar 220 a punchy facade as it smartly spun on the revolving stand.

 

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Hyosung displayed their entire range of bikes ranging from dirt bikes, street bikes to sport bikes. The crowd puller was definitely the Hyosung GT series of bike in the 250cc and 650cc segment. The RT125D also put many visitors in awe with its unusual beefy tyres on a dirt bike. The Korean company has recently opened a new showroom in Naxal where all of these beauties can be tried and tested.

 

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The NADA Auto SHOW 2011 did very much live up to our expectations and we thoroughly enjoyed the event. The enthusiasm of the companies could be seen from the massive efforts they had put in to highlight their products. Automobiles being a considerable aspect of every person’s life, events like these should keep taking place every now and then. This year we did miss the participation of Toyota which is probably the oldest company in Nepal, Nissan who definitely could have pulled off a good display at the expo and Royal Enfield which has a die-hard fan following. We had also hoped to see the popular Hummer H2 and the exotic Ducati motorcycles on display but sadly, our expectations were short lived. We anticipate the next Auto Expo is a lot better in terms of dealer participation. With almost every vehicle in the world now available in nearby India, our authorized dealers should definitely try getting some of the awesome wheelers here even if it is just for display.

Until the next auto expo…

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