The 8th Auto Expo 2006 kicked off in the Capital on Thursday. Organized by ACMA (Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India), CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) and SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers), Asia’s largest automotive show, which has been held for the last 18 years, will continue till January 17.
The Auto Expo over the years has become the largest platform for the Indian automobile and auto components industry for showcasing their products and has been the launching pad for many new vehicles as well as new technology components. The first day of the Auto Expo was marked by significant announcements by companies like Maruti and Yamaha.
Jagdish Khattar, Managing Director, Maruti Udyog, while sharing the company’s investment plans, said, “At the last Auto Expo, India’s car industry was in the midst of a strong growth phase. Our company had also turned around and was consolidating its leadership position. At this Auto Expo, we look to the future with hope and optimism. India is being hailed as the next big growth story. Maruti and Suzuki believe in this story and have committed major investments in India. We have finalized investments of over Rs 3,200 crore in a new car plant and a diesel engine facility. In addition, we have decided to invest another Rs 2,718 crore in Maruti by 2008.”
Khattar also made the important announcements that MUL will launch five new models in India in the next five years, and by the end of 2006, it bring a compact diesel car for Indian customers.
European automobile giant Audi made a perfect start to its India innings by introducing the A4. The A4 available in India will offer the 2.0-litre TDI four-cylinder engine with pump-injector fuel injection and a power output of 103 kW (140 bhp) and the 1.8 T four-cylinder petrol version wit 120 kW (163 bhp). The ex-showroom Delhi price for the A4 is Rs 24,74,000 (1.8T multitronic) and Rs 26,59,000 (2.0l TDI multitronic), respectively.
Said Michael Weber, Audi’s Country Manager for India, “The launch of the A4 is a key development for Audi and we expect it to accelerate sales growth for us across the region. We continue to put fresh new cars on the road that appeal to the sporty and progressive lifestyles of sophisticated consumers. When customers come to Audi, they will always find a car to suit their lifestyle – this is a key selling point for us."
The first day of the Auto Expo also saw the launch of the Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia by Hindustan Motors. Priced at Rs 9.87 lakh (ex-showroom), the Lancer Cedia is a premium car powered by a 2-litre petrol engine with 16 valves.
T. Ishikawa, who has taken over as Managing Director and CEO of Yamaha Motor India, underlined his vision of making Yamaha a major player in the Indian motorcycle industry with investments of Rs 300 crore over the next two years. It aims to double its market share by the end of 2010.
Announcing Yamaha’s three-pronged business strategy for the next two years, Ishikawa said that the focus would be to strengthen Yamaha as a single brand that symbolises the ‘One’ experience in excellence across all its products, in line with Yamaha’s global image. He said that the company would lay stress on developing exciting new products catering to the young, evolving lifestyle market.