Auto Expo: Over 70 launches scheduled as manufacturers bank on sentiments

Topics Auto Expo | Siam | Economic slowdown

Despite slowdown in the automobile sector, more of new model launches are expected at the biennial automotive industry show, Auto Expo 2020, starting February 7 in Greater Noida, as compared to last year.


The number of such launches is expected to cross 70, indicate members from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam). Also, non-Siam numbers (including Chinese ones) would launch or showcase dozens of others. In the 2018 Expo, the total number, from Siam members and others, was around 85.


All these should improve customer sentiment, and in turn a rise in sales, said Rajesh Menon, director-general (DG) of Siam. It appears 10-odd global launches, 26 India launches, six concept vehicles, seven facelifts and 21 unveilings (only display) are planned. The largest occupant will be Tata Motors. Some Chinese companies, including GreatWall, will mark their foray this year. Other major Chinese companies include BYD and Haima. Volkswagen, Skoda and Nissan, which did not come in 2018, will now do so, said Sugato Sen, deputy DG at Siam.


On the allegation by some of a lack of return on the investment in showcasing at the Expo, the DG said the rentals had not changed for the past five editions. Customer sentiment is weak, though sales in the December quarter were slightly better as compared to the earlier two. One reason is new launches, said Menon.


On the companies staying away from the Expo, he said the industry was in difficult times and many of these were preoccupied with business challenges. He said the participants would account for nearly 85 per cent of passenger car sales in the country; in the commercial vehicle segment, 75 per cent.


About 20 start-ups in the electric vehicle (EV) and related technology sectors will also showcase their offering, against 11 last time.


The focus will be on vehicle safety and EVs. The latter and hybrid vehicles showcased are expected to generate much interest.


Menon said consumer sentiment plays a major part in sales of passenger vehicles. In the case of commercial vehicles, it is investment in infrastructure projects. Two-wheeler demand is linked to progress in the rural economy.


He said the industry hoped the market would do better from the second half of 2020-21.


On the coming Union Budget, he said Siam had requested a vehicle scrappage policy and reduction in goods and services tax from the present 28 per cent.


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