Maruti, Hyundai look to make a splash at Auto Expo 2023, many to stay away
The on-ground motor show in New Delhi will return after a gap of three years with many players also choosing to opt out.
After being last held in February 2020, India's biennial on-ground automotive extravaganza – Auto Expo – is finally set to return after a hiatus of three years as a result of the pandemic. The mega event is slated to take place in Greater Noida, near New Delhi, from January 13 and 18, 2023.
India's top-two carmakers – Maruti Suzuki India and Hyundai Motor India – are the ones in the list among other players such as Tata Motors, MG Motor India, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Kia India, and newcomers like BYD that aim to make a splash at the upcoming physical show with a series of new concept showcases as well as upcoming product launches.
However, despite the 2022 edition of Auto Expo being cancelled due to fears of Covid and the exhibition only making a comeback after a considerable gap, many key players in the passenger vehicle as well as two-wheeler segments have chosen to opt out of the global show, with experts believing the high cost of participation and lack of brand-new products for showcase being the key impediments.
Another factor in play to the reduced number of participants is the show’s location – India Expo Mart – which, in Greater Noida, is significantly far off from the New Delhi airport and also inaccessible for the general public due to thin connectivity by public transport, therefore, resulting in lesser footfalls.
Experts say that the home of the Auto Expo – Pragati Maidan – in the heart of New Delhi is still under reconstruction and might woo exhibitors back once it is fully ready, likely in time for the next motor show in 2025.
According to sources, mainstream carmakers like Mahindra & Mahindra, Honda Cars India, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Skoda Auto India, Citroen India as well as Nissan India would stay away from the 2023 expo. A common link among these players is the lack of new models to be showcased, that is keeping them at bay from spending on the exhibition and saving marketing cash for future.
Maruti, Hyundai, Tata to make a splash
Maruti's upcoming Baleno-based crossover - codenamed YTB - likely to be unveiled at Auto Expo 2023. Picture above is a computer-generated render for representational purposes.
However, for players like Maruti Suzuki India, the Auto Expo continues to be a playground to engage with customers and showcase its technology and upcoming concepts. The company can be expected to unveil its upcoming compact crossover – codenamed YTB – based on the Baleno hatchback, at the Auto Expo 2023. The Baleno-based cross-SUV is likely to see Suzuki’s 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine make a comeback in the Maruti Suzuki India line-up.
Maruti Suzuki is also set to make news with the reveal of the made-in-India, 5-door Jimny that is also likely to be showcased alongside the likelihood of a future all-electric concept from Maruti Suzuki as the carmaker eyes to foray into the EV segment in 2025.
It is also likely that Maruti could display the C-MPV based on the upcoming Toyota Innova Hycross.
According to RC Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India, “We will showcase the vehicles planned for launch in 2023-24 at the Auto Expo. These developments must happen as we, as a car manufacturer, must follow our customers. If the customer profiles and their needs are changing, we too must change with them.”
Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor India, the No. 2 carmaker by volumes, is expected to showcase its ‘affordable’ EV concept along with the flagship Ioniq 6 EV. There is likelihood of the Korean carmaker showcasing the Creta and Verna facelifts as well. A concept previewing its long overdue micro-SUV, akin to the Tata Punch, is also likely to be displayed.
Hyundai’s Korean sibling Kia too is likely to bring the facelift version of its top-selling product in India – Seltos SUV – alongside showcasing its maiden EV – the Kia EV6.
Tata Motors, which has been making a buzz in the passenger vehicle segment in the last couple of years, will bring its current range of products, including the recently-unveiled Tiago EV, as well as all-electric versions of the high-selling models - Altroz and Punch as well.
While MG Motor India will unveil its upcoming two-door micro EV and might also showcase the MG4EV, Toyota Kirloskar Motor will launch the new-generation Innova Hycross, which is slated to be unveiled sometime next month in November. The new hybrid-electric MPV will replace the outgoing Innova Crysta and will also make the Innova range a petrol-only offering from the Japanese carmaker.
Likewise, for BYD India, the newcomer in the personal e-passenger-vehicle segment, the company will launch its recently-unveiled Atto 3 crossover.
As is the case with the mainstream players in the passenger vehicle segment that have chosen to stay away from the Auto Expo 2023, the scenario is similar in the luxury car segment. The three major German marques – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz – along with Jaguar Land Rover, have opted out of the upcoming motor show, with many of these OEMs taking the route of conducting separate product launches throughout the year.
Top two-wheeler OEMs to stay away from Auto Expo
With a prolonged lull, that is only being exacerbated by rising fuel prices and resultant stagnating demand, the two-wheeler market has been witnessing a significant slowdown from even before the start of the pandemic. As a result, most mainstream players, including Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Co are likely to stay away from the upcoming Auto Expo, with the cash spend not likely to generate expected returns in terms of footfalls, especially when there are not many new product launches to showcase.
While the world’s No. 1 two-wheeler giant by volumes, Hero MotoCorp, which has recently unveiled its EV sub-brand Vida, could have packed a punch at the Expo, its move to stay away comes as a big surprise. On the other hand, electric two-wheeler players like Okinawa Autotech and Greaves Cotton (Ampere Vehicles) will make their presence felt while e-three-wheeler start-ups like Omega Seiki Mobility will showcase their latest innovations.
CV players to make most of Expo
The commercial vehicle segment, which is seeing strong recovery after a couple of dfficult years due to the lockdowns during the peak of the pandemic, is seeing action returning in the infrastructure, mining and tourism space. As a result, there is growing demand for trucks and buses across sub-segments including small CVs which are seeing strong demand in the last-mile delivery space.
Key players like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles as well as all-electric bus maker – Switch Mobility – are all set to showcase their latest products and innovations at the upcoming Auto Expo 2023.
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