Companies & Sectors
Auto Expo 2012: A curtain raiser and visitor’s advisory

This year’s Auto Expo promises to be one interesting experience. The theme for Auto Expo 2012 is ‘green’, which is all very good, considering the smog and haze-laden Delhi

A few hours ago I booked my ticket for the Auto Expo 2012 online, all of Rs200 worth which will hopefully entitle me to entry at Pragati Maidan in Delhi on Saturday the 7 January 2012, without much fuss and demur. I say ‘hopefully’, because the experiences people had in the 2010 version of the Auto Expo make the Gurgaon New Year’s riots look tame.

The organisers at Auto Expo 2012, along with the authorities, appear to be trying to take no chances this time around, by restricting entry to the first 1 lakh people every day, which is about half the number that officially entered the fair grounds last time around—the actual number by way of unofficial entries, hanger-ons, VIPs, and more, would easily be more. In addition, the 1 lakh cap appears to be an arbitrary number, includes participants and officials, so there is no idea on how this will relate to visitors.

I have been visiting the Auto Expo on ‘PRESS’ passes since the inception, and therefore been spared most of the issues faced by visitors, but this time around, due to the rather complicated and time-consuming process as well as fairly blatant expectations of what reportage should be like, I choose to visit it on my own steam. Let us see how it pans out. In any case, the ‘PRESS’ experience is increasingly like a PR sponsored guided tour, lately.

Even with tickets bought in advance, if indications are to be believed, entry is not guaranteed. In addition, the fine print in the “terms and conditions” for the booking service online makes it clear that they are not responsible for any damages or any loss resulting from “inability to use the services”. In other words, if the organisers decide to shut the gates, that’s it—regardless of whether you have a ticket or pass or not. Safety is supreme—and rightly so.

So, if you want to visit the Auto Expo 2012, you need to get your entry formalities in place early—and then land up there even earlier before they put a cap on entries. In addition, most of the launch functions and special events are being held starting the 4th of January onwards, while public entry starts on the 7th.

The theme for this year’s Auto Expo is ‘green’, which is all very good, the display of new generation alternate fuel vehicles like the Audi-3 E-Tron, the Mahindra Reva NXR, the Nissan Leaf and others are surely welcome in smog and haze laden Delhi. But the larger buzz, as always, appears to be reserved for the usual smorgasbord of big engine supercars, superbikes and SUVs. Of which there are far too many to list out—but one honourable mention needs go to the home-grown supercar from DC in Mumbai. That will be essential viewing.

Likewise, the smaller component and accessory stalls, as well as speciality displays of customisation and more, hold an appeal which is often missed out in the glamour and hype of the larger pavilions from manufacturers. They are also less crowded, the exhibitors are mostly genuinely pleased to greet and show visitors their wares, and the atmosphere is more, how do we put it, Indian?

By contrast, the larger pavilions are certainly eminent displays of brilliance and new technology, on wheels and otherwise, but the often surly and condescending attitude towards visitors during public hours can be a put off. My take here to the exhibitors is this—you have come to India to sell your motor vehicles to people, not to a market. Our buyers like to touch, feel, squeeze and analyse the product thoroughly. They will therefore expect to be permitted to do the same. Live with it.

For me, the most interesting and lately most important part of this exhibition has always been the one pertaining to public transport and goods vehicles, especially in view of the extremely high growth envisaged in both these sectors in the coming years. In addition to the new buses and trucks on display, there are going to be some even more interesting displays and discussion on issues like toll collection, inter-state movement of trucks, inter-modal movement of unitised and break-bulk cargo, and long-distance buses.

But the really important part, if trends are to be believed, will be the further emergence of the mini and micro-mini trucks and people movers—and in this, the Chinese influence is to be seen to be believed—silently but inexorably making progress while the media focus and bright arc lights are on the luxury sector.

All in all, this year’s Auto Expo promises to be one interesting experience, like the ones before—but what a long way we’ve come since people came there in their lakhs to gawk at the early Marutis!!

However, do buy your tickets in advance, and be at the gates early.

More details, including on how to book tickets in advance online, are available at:

(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved actively in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves. Mr Malik had a career in the Merchant Navy which he left in 1983, qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, a love for travel, and an active participation in print and electronic media as an alternate core competency, all these and more.)




5 years ago

Hi Veeresh,
I am interested in the yamaha BWs. Please provide your take on the bike and its availabitlity.


5 years ago

Quick update - Bajaj Auto have launched their 4-wheeled quadricycle, the RE-60, a short while ago. Looks like an ungainly ugly duckling, therefore it may sell (!!), and is loosely based on their RE-3wheeler, with a similar 200cc 4-stroke petrol engine.

In addition, both HM/Ambassador and Fiat are not taking part at AutoExpo 2012, so that signals curtains at this break in tradition from two of the oldest manufacturers in India . . .

Mangalore air crash: SC notice to AI, Centre on compensation plea

According to the Montreal Convention, the petitioners are entitled to have one lakh SDR (Special Drawing Rights) compensation. SDRs are issued by the International Monetary fund and covert to nearly Rs75 lakh

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre and Air India on a plea seeking minimum Rs75 lakh compensation for each of the 158 victims of the May 2010 Mangalore air crash, reports PTI.

A bench headed by justice Dalveer Bhandari asked the Centre and the national carrier to file their response and fixed the matter for final hearing in April.

The court passed the order on a petition filed by Mohammed Rafiq Salam, who had lost his son in the crash.

Mr Salam’s son was working in Dubai and was coming home a month after his sister's wedding.

Mr Salam approached the apex court challenging the verdict of a division bench of Kerala High Court which had set aside a single judge order directing Air India to pay a minimum compensation of Rs75 lakh to the families of each of the victims.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the petitioner pleaded the court that the victims’ families should be compensated according to the Montreal Convention to which India is a signatory.

According to the Montreal Convention, the petitioners are entitled to have one lakh SDR (Special Drawing Rights) compensation. SDRs are issued by the International Monetary fund and covert to nearly Rs75 lakh.

One hundred and fifty-eight passengers and crew onboard the Air India aircraft from Dubai were killed when the plane caught fire after one of its wings hit a hillock at Kenjar in Mangalore on 22 May 2010.

In July 2011, a single judge bench of the Kerala High Court, while hearing Mr Salam’s plea, had held that the carrier was liable to pay no fault liability of one lakh SDR to the petitioner.

Noting that India was a signatory to the Montreal Convention, the single judge bench had said, “It is clear that the intention of lawmakers was to bring about parity in the matter of payment of compensation to the passengers, irrespective of class of travel, while providing for a ‘two tier system’ of compensation as adopted in Montreal Convention.”

“Since the extent of damage to any injury cannot be anything more than death”, no further proof is necessary to have sanctioned the minimum compensation of ‘Rs1 lakh SDR' in the case of death and this is the mandate of the statute, it had held.

The order was set aside by the division bench of the high court on an appeal by Air India. The division bench had held that the airline was liable to pay only actual damages proved by the claimants in case of death and the victims in case of injury.

The liability can be determined through negotiated settlement or by civil court of competitive jurisdiction, the bench had held.

The division bench, while setting aside the order of the single judge, had said that the national carrier as a matter of goodwill should offer a ‘reasonable minimum’, even if the actual damages payable in law is low, so that unnecessary litigation can be avoided. If no settlement is possible, actual damages can be determined by the civil court, the division bench of high court had said, while directing AI to pay compensation reasonably estimated by the attorneys irrespective of whether there is settlement or not.


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