The auto industry in India is pinning its hopes on new launches at the 2020 Auto Expo to improve consumer sentiment and bring some relief from dismal sales that it has been seeing for more than a year.
Fifty new launches are expected at the February 7-12 event jointly organised by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
This year’s theme is based on exploring the world of mobility and envisioning a safer, cleaner, connected, bespoke, and shared tomorrow.
The industry has been hit by low demand resulting from a host of causes such as fuel price volatility, liquidity crunch, rising insurance costs, and concerns over the transition from BS IV to BS VI emission standards. Experts say that the new launches at the Auto Expo may help beat the slowdown.
“There are positive signs of consumer sentiments improving, finance availability is going up and more people are committing to more new model launches. We feel that Auto Expo can add another enabler for the auto industry to come up, largely in the area of passenger vehicles," SIAM President Rajan Wadhera said.
In 2020, China's Great Wall Motors and First Automotive Works (FAW) will make their debut in the Indian market at the expo.
"Auto Expo 2020 will be the launching pad for the revival of the auto industry, we feel. The slowdown witnessed by the auto sector in the past five successive quarters has had an impact on participation,” Wadhera added.
After skipping the event in 2018, Volkswagen, Skoda and Force Motors will make a comeback at the Auto Expo this year, with the industry’s biggest players like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, M&M, Tata Motors, MG Motors and Kia will also be there.
Maruti Suzuki is showcasing a new electric SUV concept car called Futuro-E while Hyundai will debut the face-lifted Verna and Tucson.
Wadhera also said that this Auto Expo will witness the biggest line-up of BS VI vehicles much ahead of the government's specified deadline. "It will not just be a futuristic perspective of the evolutionary paradigm in the Indian auto industry but also will manifest Indian automotive industry's preparedness to adapt to the BS VI norms," he said addressing the reporters.
This year’s Auto Expo will also give a platform to more than 15 startups to showcase products based on green and connected mobility.
However, Honda, Toyota, Ford, BMW, Audi, Lexus, Volvo, and Jaguar Land Rover along with two-wheeler majors Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Co. will give this year’s Expo a miss. "Some of the members would be missing, (they are) currently occupied with responding to business challenges. When there is de-growth, obviously there is an introspection. Should we, should we not... We were thinking of postponing it by one year. Then, we decided to go ahead. Collectively, most of us thought that it is wiser to go ahead with the Auto Expo than to postpone by one year," Wadhera said.