With a total of 51 – including two-wheelers and luxury cars – new products making their debut at the India’s flagship automobile show, the first day saw a lot of new vehicles. Covering the underlying theme of ‘mobility for all’, the Delhi Auto Expo 2016 flagged off with the car market leader Maruti Suzuki unveiling the much anticipated compact SUV Vitara Brezza and ended on a celebratory mode with the launch of BMW’s 7 series. Here is all you need to know about the Indian auto industry.
Diesel SUVs set eyeballs rolling amid city’s pollution woes
The event saw many auto companies driving in diesel SUVs and cars, indicating ignorance to Supreme Court orders. At least 10 automakers, including Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Jeep, Tata Motors, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover launched sports-utility and luxury vehicles. The uncertain futures of high-end diesel cars following the Supreme Court’s restriction seem to have no effect on carmakers. From sub-4 metres to the high-octane 4X4s or prices starting from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 1 crore and more, auto companies drove in many SUVs.
Compact ‘off-roader’ machines for the aspirational middle-class
While Maruti Suzuki launched its Vitara Brezza the crossover in a bid to outdo Renault Duster and Hyundai’s Creta, Hyundai’s mini-SUV, Carlino, Mahindra and Mahindra’s mini KUV100, and Mahindra SsangYong’s Tivoli compact SUV are all looking to eye the fastest-growing segment in the country. The rising incomes of the common man and his aspiration to buy off-roaders could be the philosophy behind launching the flamboyant crossovers.
Rs 6-16 lakhs: The new sweet spot in luxury car pricing
Many cars were launched between the Rs 6-Rs 16 lakh bracket at the event. It just goes to show the opportunity that automakers are tapping in India. The fast-growing segment of mini-SUVs saw a number of new entrants launched at an attractive price point, especially from the Indian automakers.
German luxury car makers and their offerings dipped in luxury
When it comes to global competition, it is German engineering Indian automakers have a thing or two to learn from. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen – which are among the best car makers in the world – presented India with what could be the Auto Expo’s best offerings. The premium family sports-utility GLC, S-500 Cabriolet, by Mercedes-Benz, hybrid sedan Passat GTE and Ameo by Volkswagen, A8 L Security and R8 V10 Plus by Audi, and the premium compact SUV, X1, and the new-generation 7-Series by BMW were the highlights of the show and pushed the bar by several notches.
Jurgen Stackmann’s apology to Indian customers
“Volkswagen has made some big mistakes. I am truly sorry for that. I apologise to everyone. And I assure you, we are committed to making things right here. We want to win back the trust in our brand. I know that many of our Indian customers are wondering whether their cars might be affected too,” Volkswagen Passenger Cars Board Member for sales and marketing Jurgen Stackmann said while launching the luxury sedan Passat GTE. Stackmann said he is ‘apologising’ on the behalf of the brand for the inconvenience and uncertainty that it might have caused in the country.
He further added that Volkswagen wants totally satisfied customers so the brand is looking to voluntarily update all the vehicles with EA 189 engines, making them as clean as the affected cars in Europe. “And we will do this at no cost to the owners. That is our promise to our customers here in India,” he added.
Old is Gold
The iconic Ford Mustang was finally unveiled in India in January in a pre-launch event in the city. After making its public debut at expo, the Ford Mustang will be launched in April, 2016. Indians will be able to drive Ford Motor Co.’s iconic Mustang sports car, more than five decades after it was launched in the U.S. The launch of the Mustang will be a big leap for Ford in India.
When Cricket and Bollywood comes together, cars and bikes sell
Cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Mohinder Amarnath and Virat Kohli added stars to carmakers’ pavilions, and Bollywood stars like Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt and Karan Singh Grover became the frontrunners in the dazzling display of cars and bikes.
Two-wheeler International stars
American motorcycle manufacturer UM made its way into the country with the launch of three cruisers – the Renegade Commando, Renegade Classic and Renegade Sport S. Apart from UM, DSK Benelli launched the powerful bike TRK 502. The Indian automakers, Mahindra and Hero Motocorp launched Genze 2.0 and iSmart bikes respectively. While the iSmart bikes run on eco-friendly technology, Genze 2.0, a pickup scooter built on a utilitarian ‘delivery’ model, is 100 per cent electric. Honda’s Navi, a combination of a motorcycle and a scooter, and TVS Akula 310, a concept sportsbike, were other bikes that reached for the stars at the expo.