Auto Expo 2018: Who’s In and Who’s Not

It’s the biennial automotive event that all auto enthusiasts in India look forward to – The Auto Expo. The 2018 edition of the Auto Expo takes place between 9 and 14 February 2018 at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida.

It is the biggest expo in India for all car and bike makers to showcase their products. However, auto manufacturers don’t seem to be so kicked about the event this year at least. Many don’t see the value in it and have opted out of this year’s expo.

Who’s NOT at the Auto Expo

Jeep got a lot of eyeballs at Auto Expo 2016, but are not taking part in Auto Expo 2018.

Many Auto Expo regulars are not going to be at the Expo this year. The entire Volkswagen Group, which includes its sister car, truck and motorcycle companies (Skoda, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Ducati, MAN and Scania), is pulling out of the Expo.

Ford India, which recently launched the updated Ford EcoSport, will not be showcasing its products at the Expo. Nissan, which showed an updated Nissan Leaf electric car at the Tokyo Expo, is not taking part in the Auto Expo in New Delhi. Fiat Chrysler, which has been seeing good traction with the Jeep brand lately, and had shown it at the previous Expo is not signing up for the 2018 edition. That means even Fiat won’t be at the Expo.

Bike enthusiasts will be disappointed to note that Harley Davidson, Triumph and Royal Enfield will not be present at the Auto Expo. It’s not just the big cruiser bike guys, even Bajaj Auto has pulled out.

In total, more than 30 automotive companies that have showcased at the Auto Expo earlier will not be taking part in this year’s expo.

Why Are Brands Pulling Out?

The Volkswagen Tiguan showcased at Auto Expo 2016.

A couple of the car brands we spoke with (not wanting to be quoted) said the kind of audience that the Auto Expo attracts is not in keeping with their target profile. Also the costs of showcasing at the Auto Expo are quite high.

An average size stall that can showcase 7 or 8 cars costs about Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore for the duration of the Expo. Add to that the costs of manpower and equipment for the Expo and brands end up spending between Rs 5 crore to Rs 10 crore just for the Auto Expo. While this comes out of their marketing budgets, not many see it as a worthwhile investment.

Also this year, a lot of focus has been on a technological shift. Many are getting Bharat Stage 6 emissions compliant cars ready. Others are working on hybrids and electric vehicles. The thing is, not many have any cars or concepts that are ready to be showcased.

Who’s At The Auto Expo?

Although many of the big brands are not showcasing their products, the ones that are will have quite a bit to show. Maruti has the new Swift and its Concept S SUV to showcase at the Expo. Hyundai will be showing a new small hatchback and a crossover. Tata Motors has a range of new ‘mobility solutions’, most likely electric vehicles to showcase.

Mahindra will have a few more electric iterations of their vehicles on display, besides new concepts and SUVs. Honda will likely have an upcoming SUV and the Civic sedan on display. Mercedes, BMW and Mini will have their entire line up on display, with a couple of upcoming cars as well.

Kia will be showcasing its range of cars at the Auto Expo 2018.

Besides these companies, two new brands to watch out for are the British marque MG, now owned by Chinese firm SAIC and Kia Motors, a sister concern of Hyundai. Both these companies are entering the Indian market this year and will be showcasing a range of their cars.

And there are a whole lot of smaller start up electric companies such as 22 Motors, EmFlux, Okinawa and others who will be showing their products.

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