Auto Expo 2020 was a show of strength from the Indian automotive industry which is now emerging from the gloom of a rather torrid 2019.
Auto Expo 2020 lived up to all the hype and anticipation that had reached a crescendo leading up to the mega event which began on February 7. The once-in-two-years event had the mega stars of the Indian and global auto world take center stage and also had some very strong debut performances from some really talented candidates even as the overall theme of the event was green and electric power. Today (February 12) is the final day of this mega Indian motor show that has already paved the way for even more capable, a lot more stylish and technologically advanced products to hit Indian roads in the times to come.
The very visible emphasis of the 15th edition of Auto Expo was the need to bank upon electric energy. Most OEMs showcased their prowess in this area and put their products on display - a few launches, several showcases and even more concepts. India may still be far behind countries like China, Norway and the United States in the field of clean mobility but has the right potential to catch up.
Take Maruti Suzuki for example. India's largest car maker has no EV on offer in the market currently. All of that is all set to change as the company showcased its Concept Futuro-E at Auto Expo. The company showcased it on Day 1 of the event, even before it unveiled the new Brezza with petrol engine and the new Ignis with an updated style quotient. That a concept electric car was chosen to be revealed before cars with mass following, many say, is a clear statement of intent from Maruti. "Our theme at the Auto Expo 2020 - Mission Green Million - explains our commitment towards bringing affordable and sustainable green technologies for India," said MSI Managing Director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa. "We aim to manufacture and sell the next million green vehicles at a much faster pace, over the next couple of years."
Others like Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra have left the planning stage behind and already hit the ground running. While Tata Motors launched the Nexon EV (starting at ₹13.99 lakh, ex showroom) even before the Auto Expo, Mahindra built on its EV profile by launching the eKUV100, one of the cheapest EVs to buy at ₹8.25 lakh (ex showroom). MG Motors displayed the ZS EV which is priced at ₹20.88 lakh (ex showroom) and also showcased the Marvel X, an electric crossover SUV, which could touch Indian shores in the time to come.
And the electric power is not just restricted to cars with Piaggio displaying the electric Vespa, Okinawa showcasing a concept electric cruiser scooter and EeVe, an Odisha-based startup, bringing in an electric scooter and electric motorcycle at the Auto Expo.
Such has been the flavour of Auto Expo this year that the country's first electric cargo three-wheelers also grabbed spotlight with Omega Seiki introducing Singha and Singha Max which have a range of 100 kilometers.
Moving away from electric energy, there were also some notable launches of cars which use conventional fuels. Maruti, as mentioned, showcased Brezza petrol and Ignis. Hyundai drove in the eagerly-awaited Creta 2020. Volkswagen unleashed its SUV might by showcasing T-Roc and Tiguan AllSpace. Skoda put on display its 'Made for India' compact SUV Vision IN while Mercedes put out the Marco Polo edition of V-Class - complete with a bed and kitchenette, the AMG GT 63S - fastest four-door AMG in the world. The German luxury car maker also revealed the all-new GLA and the A-Class Limousine.
It was, therefore, indeed yet another power-packed Auto Expo even if some major manufacturers who decided to give the event a miss this year were indeed missed. Honda was one of them but the Japanese car maker is all set to bring in the new City 2020. Audi too was absent but then the company has been busy in recent months and has launched the new Q8 SUV and A8 L sedan. Toyota too was a big name absent but is likely to rev up 2020 in its own way. Notable two-wheeler makers who were also absent included Hero, Honda and TVS.
Nonetheless, after what was a dull and drab 2019, the Indian auto industry can surely look at the light on the horizon with Auto Expo 2020 being a potential catalyst for the industry as a whole.