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Auto Expo- The historical perspective

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Auto Expo

Spread over 58 acres of land including 235,000 square metre of space at Greater Noida, some 60 kilometers from Delhi, one of world’s premier auto shows – the Auto Expo 2020 is going to focus on mobility, artificial intelligence, analytics, voice commands, assisted vehicles and robotics that are increasingly playing a vital role in the field of mobility. It may well turn out to be one of the largest expos in the world in terms of footfall.

The 15th edition of Auto Expo 2020 may witness the convergence of the best technologies, innovations and the best minds in the automotive world on a single platform to showcases the products, technologies, concepts and trends that will play a role in future.

The Motor Show will provide a launch pad for more than 60 product launches of key brands in the entry for the first time India or global launch of some brands. Slated to be the biggest line-up of BSVI vehicles it will also feature new emission technology & safety standards under one roof.

The expo is expected to draw prominent players in the automobile market like Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Mahindra, Porsche, Honda, Hyundai, Skoda, Volkswagen, MG and Kia who are expected to display their all-electric, hybrid vehicles and clean fuels compatible with BS VI emission norms.

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Over the last 25 years the Auto Expo has grown tremendously and gained credibility as an extremely popular global event and a big attraction for Indian and foreign exhibitors and visitors.

At a time when the Indian auto industry is experiencing a massive slowdown, most manufacturers are in the process of realigning their products with the BS6 emission norms. Many of them feel that the cost of participation in the motor show is the high and do not see any merit in blowing their money. The slowdown has seen a decline of 18 per cent for passenger vehicles, 22 per cent for commercial vehicles and 15.7 per cent for two-wheeler industry.

However more than a dozen companies that may be conspicuous by their absence at the Auto Expo –2020 include Ashok Leyland, Bharat Benz, Volvo, Fiat Chrysler, Audi, Lexus, Kirloskar, Eicher, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Fiat, Jeep, BMW, Audi, Jaguar and Citroen, which is set to launch its first model in India in 2020. The absentees in the two wheeler segment include Royal Enfield, Harley Davidson, Triumph motorcycles, Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycles, Scooters India, and TVS.

Even some of the biggest auto shows globally in Frankfurt and Tokyo met with similar lack of participation.

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However, despite glum sentiments there are many industry pundits who believe that the Auto Expo 2020 will give the Indian automobile industry a reason to smile once again.

One of the reasons behind their optimism is the interest shown by companies like Hyundai, Maruti, Tata, Renault, Volkswagen, Mahindra, Kia, MG, Skoda and Mercedes-Benz who are likely to display their new products at the event. According to reports quite a few Chinese automakers like Haima and Great Wall Motors will also be making their debut at the expo for the first time in India.

The Auto Expo – a complete automotive show conceived 25 year ago in 1985, provides a platform to the Indian automotive industry, to see and learn new technologies being used worldwide, and showcase its expertise to the global industry.

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It all started in 1986 when the first Auto Expo was organized over 12000 square meters indoor and 4000 square meters outdoor space at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from 3 – 11 January 1986. That was the time when Ambassador and Fiat cars and Bajaj scooters dominated the market and Maruti (launched in 1983) was just a three year old baby. The nine day long Auto Expo 1986 brought new hope for the Indian Automotive Industry promoting indigenous R&D to absorb new technologies in India. The path breaking event focusing on technology transfers was attended by the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi and was enthusiastically participated by Companies like Escorts, DCM Toyota, Nissan, AP Scooters, HMT, Jawa, Kinetic, Kelvinator, Majestic Auto, Standard Motors, and Shree Chamundi Mopeds, some of which don’t exist now or have merged with other entities.

Six years later the next Expo inaugurated by the then Finance Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh in December 1993 provided a platform for healthy dialogue between the industry, dealers, consumers and the government to share to share each other’s viewpoint. That was the time when many global players were looking forward to enter the India automobile market.

The next Auto Expo in February 1996 attended by the then External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, and Petroleum Minister Capt Satish Sharma, provided a platform for big automobile players like Daewoo, Hyundai, Ford, and Honda to launch new vehicles in the Indian market.

Two years later it was formally announced that henceforth the Auto Expo will be a biennial event. The Auto Expo 1998 was an unprecedented success with over 50 overseas participants and nearly 150,000 daily visitors. A number of brands like TELCO, Hyundai, Daewoo used the opportunity to launch their new models.

Over time the 5th edition of Auto Expo held in Pragiti Maidan from 12th– 18th January 2000 was a resounding success. The event inaugurated by the then Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Late. Murasoli Maran. The expo covering a display area of 65,000 sq.m. drew close to a million visitors and participants from some 20 countries. This forum was used by 25 new automobile and 22 component manufacturers to launch their products. Some of the highlights of the expo included a special Green Pavilion to focus on environment and the first Asian Two Wheeler Conference that paved the way for proliferation of two wheelers market in India.

The 6th edition of Auto Expo, held from 15 to 22 January 2002 witnessed international participation from 20 countries and exhibitors from China, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Germany, Israel, Iran, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UAE and the USA. It had a special road safety pavilion and focused on safety technology, road engineering, & enforcement. It drew over 1.5 million visitors and generated over two lakh business enquires. One of the significant outcomes of the Expo was an agreement between SIAM, DTC and US Alternate Fuels Training Consortium to make way for alternate fuel vehicles.

The 7th edition of Auto Expo 2004 – over a period of 5 days from 7 to 11 January 2004; covered a display area of 10,300 square meters. Inaugurated by the then Deputy Prime Minister of India L K Advani, some 840 Indian and 120 overseas companies participated in the expo. The key OEM exhibitors included Maruti, Hyundai, Tata Motors, Nissan, Skoda, Audi, Volkswagen and Daimler Chrysler.

Over the years, the show grew from strength to strength and by 2006, it started seeing new launches, concept vehicles, trade dialogues and huge overseas participation. The Auto Expo in 2006 jointly organized by the Automotive Components Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) was spread over a display area of 70,000 square meters at Pragati Maidan. It attracted about 1 million visitors and yielded business worth Rs 540 Crores. Inaugurated by Kamal Nath, the then Minster for Commerce & Industry it drew over 1,000 participants from 300 odd overseas companies and 26 countries—including China, Germany, Italy, Taiwan and UK. It was reorganized around thematic pavilions focusing on commercial vehicles, two wheelers, alternate fuels, design and styling. It was the first time that vehicle simulators were displayed in an Auto Expo.

The 9th Auto Expo from 10th – 17th January 2008, spread over a display area of 1.2 Lakh square meters attracted 1.8 million visitors and some 2000 exhibitors. It generated business worth Rs. 20,000 Crores and more than 100 MOUs were signed during this period. Based on the theme – “Mobility for All” it was jointly inaugurated by the then Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath, and Minister of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises, Santosh Mohan Dev. It was the first time the expo was accredited by Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA) and attracted 84 international delegations from over 40 countries including Germany, France, Japan, Spain, Canada and other countries. It saw more that 30 new product / facelift and 4 global launches including Tata Nano. It was also the first time that Hydrogen and Hybrid Vehicles were displayed at the Auto Expo.


The 2010 edition of Auto Expo registered the maximum attendance till date when over 2 million people visited the show.  The Silver Jubilee edition of Auto Expo from 5 to 11 January 2010 spread over an area of 125,000 square meters surpassed all previous records. The show inaugurated by the then Ministers for Road Transport Kamal Nath and Heavy Industries Vilasrao Deshmukh attracted 72 product launches including 10 global launches of passenger vehicles and two-wheelers. It drew the largest ever overseas participation from 30 countries and some 2100 exhibitors besides media from over 19 countries.

The 11th Edition of Auto Expo was held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from 5 January 2012 to 11 January 2012. The largest automotive show saw around 1500 participants from 23 countries and some 50 car launches, including 10 global launches and 20 two-wheeler launches. It drew participants like Ferrari and Peugeot who showcased their products for the first time in India.

For the first time ever, the 12th Edition of the Auto Expo was bifurcated into two events: Auto Expo (Components) at Pragati Maidan, from 6 to 9 February and Auto Expo (The Motor Show) at India Expo Mart, at Greater Noida, from 7 – 11 February 2014.

The 13th Auto Expo the biggest automotive show in India and second largest auto show of the world, Auto Expo 2016 – was held at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida from 5–9 February 2016 while Auto Expo 2016 – Components: was held at Pragati Maidan from 4–7 February 2016.

The 14th Auto Expo, the biggest event of the automotive industry in India, was held from 9–14 February 2018. Like the previous edition, this show is divided into:

Auto Expo 2018 – The Motor Show: was held at India Expo Mart, Noida from 9–14 February 2018, while Auto Expo Components was held at Pragati Maidan from 8–11 February 2018. It drew over 1 lakh visitors from more than 67 countries and participants from 20 countries. The joint inauguration of Auto Expo 2018 was held on 8 February.

The biggest extravaganza representation of its kind may offer quite a few opportunities for growth of Indian automotive industry from BSVI emission norms, to passenger cars with electric and hybrid powertrain.

The Auto Expo 2020 promises to give a peek into the future of mobility and transportation.

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Neeraj Mahajan
Neeraj Mahajanhttps://n2erajmahajan.wordpress.com/
Neeraj Mahajan is a hard-core, creative and dynamic media professional with over 35 years of proven competence and 360 degree experience in print, electronic, web and mobile journalism. He is an eminent investigative journalist, out of the box thinker, and a hard-core reporter who is always hungry for facts. Neeraj has worked in all kinds of daily/weekly/broadsheet/tabloid newspapers, magazines and television channels like Star TV, BBC, Patriot, Sunday Observer, Sunday Mail, Network Magazine, Verdict, and Gfiles Magazine.


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