Hindustan Motors. Kinetic. Hero Honda. Honda SIEL. Fiat. Ford. M&M. Toyota. The list of dropouts from the 7th Auto Expo, Asia's biggest automotive show, is extensive. If some are dropping out because they have nothing new to exhibit, others cite exorbitant costs as the primary factor.
“Hindustan Motors had done a few launches like Ambassador Grand, RTV Cosmo and Lancer Exel just before the Expo, in October and November 2003. There was no point in showcasing the same variants again,” Soni Srivastava, General Manger – Communications, Hindustan Motors tells exchange4media.
“The best time to participate in the Auto Expo is when a company is looking at avenues for brand building. We feel that our massive presence at the Expo 2001 in Delhi has had the desired impact in terms of showcasing Fiat's product range and hence the need to be present this year was not critical,” relates a company spokesperson at Fiat India.
Officials at Hero Honda point out that participating in the Auto Expo would set back the firm by Rs 1.5 crore, while usually few serious buyers turn up at the event. Even Bentley India, which is revving up to launch the sporty Continental GT, is not using the Auto Expo's platform, preferring to spend the high costs involved on marketing initiatives.
While CII officials remain tightlipped about the high rate of dropouts, both CII and SIAM are already working on ways to cut costs and work towards lowering rents next time round to ensure better participation.
Looking at the high rate of dropouts, the thought that comes to mind is: ‘With an established event like the Auto Expo struggling to draw in the biggies, what’s in store for the ‘Auto Asia’ that will make its debut in Gurgaon?’