Small and green cars to be the flavour of 10th Auto Expo

The 10th Auto Expo will open in New Delhi on Tuesday with over ten global launches and previews of small and green cars by the likes of Honda and Toyota, during the week-long event

The 10th Auto Expo will open in New Delhi on Tuesday with over ten global launches and previews of small and green cars by the likes of Honda and Toyota during the week-long event—billed as the world's biggest in terms of footfalls, reports PTI.

"The Indian auto expo has been gaining stature with international original equipment manufacturers launching their global models as they do in other auto shows in the world," Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) president Pawan Goenka told reporters.

He said that over ten global launches and a total 50 new launches, which include variants of different existing models, will be held during the expo.

Companies like Honda and Toyota are expected to launch global concepts of their compact cars, while the expo will also see automobile companies showcasing their green technologies.

Earlier last month, SIAM director general Dilip Chenoy had stated the expo will "possibly be the largest in terms of footfalls", and it could be the third biggest after Frankfurt and Shanghai in terms of participants.

"This will be the largest show ever held at Pragati Maidan and the largest auto expo ever held in India," Auto Expo steering committee chairman Rajive Kaul said.

A total of 2,105 participants, including 800 from overseas, will be taking part in the expo showcasing their products in over 1.25 lakh sq mt of area that is expected to attract nearly 20 lakh visitors.

Around 20 lakh people are expected to visit the expo this year, which has been shortened by two days compared to the previous one held in 2008, in the face of the global slowdown.

"We are reducing the duration of the expo by two days. This has been done on feedback from participants and members, and it is for cutting expenditure due to the economic condition," Mr Kaul had said last month.

While the Tata Nano was the star attraction of the last auto expo, this time the company will be launching four new models in different vehicle categories.

Maruti Suzuki India will launch its new multi-purpose vehicle Eeco. Volkswagen will introduce the much-awaited Polo in the Indian market.

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    Mercedes India sales fall by 10%, loses top position to BMW

    During 2009, Mercedes India's car sales fell by over 10% and it lost leadership position to rival German automaker BMW

    German luxury car maker Mercedes on Monday said that it has lost leadership position in the premium segment in India to rival BMW and reported a decline of 10.4% in sales in the country for the last year.

    However, the company is expecting a double-digit growth during this year on the back of a host of new launches.

    "We are behind BMW in 2009 because of limited availability of our E-Class car. I don't want to focus on leadership. We want to have a profitable growth," Mercedes Benz India managing director and chief executive Wilfried Aulbur told reporters.

    The company sold 3,247 units in 2009 against 3,625 units in 2008 in India, he added. Rival BMW sold 3,619 units in 2009. "We see a very strong growth in 2010 and it will be a blockbuster year for us. We are very bullish and we expect it will be a high double-digit growth," Mr Aulbur said.

    When asked if the company would try to push its sales by offering discounts on its models to overtake BMW, Mr Aulbur said, "The focus is on profitable growth, overall discount is detrimental and it is not our focus. Just to generate volumes is not a good strategy."

    The company today launched a new version of its luxury sedan S-Class and sports utility vehicle GL in the country priced at Rs95 lakh and Rs64 lakh respectively.

    "The S500L will be assembled at our plant and it will be the most expensive luxury sedan ever produced in India. We will import the GL350CI as a completely built unit," Mr Aulbur said.

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    JSW Energy plans Rs40,000 crore investment in 8,000MW projects

    The power producer is implementing projects worth 3,200MW in Maharashtra, 1,320MW in Chhattisgarh and 1,600MW in West Bengal and plans to become an over 11,000MW company by 2015

    JSW Energy Ltd, the first company to be listed on the bourses in 2010, on Monday said that it plans to invest around Rs40,000 crore in developing power projects of 8,000MW, reports PTI.

    "We have got 8,000 MW in the pipeline, so this money will be needed for that. The investment (for this) is close to Rs 40,000 crore," JSW's managing director Sajjan Jindal said today but he did not specify the duration for this investment.

    The company is implementing projects worth 3,200MW in Maharashtra, 1,320MW in Chhattisgarh and 1,600MW in West Bengal. It plans to become an over 11,000MW company by 2015.

    The power producer today listed shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) where it opened at a premium of 2% over the issue price of Rs100. On the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the share was listed at Rs106, a premium of 6%.

    JSW Energy, which raised about Rs2,700 crore through an initial public offer held last month, will utilise the issue proceeds to fund expansion, repay debt and for general corporate purposes, Mr Jindal said.

    "Part of the issue proceeds will be used for expansion into new projects, part will be used for repaying debt and part of the proceeds is for general corporate purposes," he told reporters after the company's listing ceremony in Mumbai.

    JSW Energy, which has an installed capacity of 995MW, is also setting up an 860MW plant at Vijayanagar in Karnataka and a 130MW plant at Barmer in Rajasthan. The company has 2,790MW capacity of projects under construction and implementation stage.

    It will commission about 2,100MW of units by December 2010, including the 1,200MW plant at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Mr Jindal said.

    He added that 55% of the power generated by the company would be sold commercially or on merchant basis, while the remaining 45% would be sold through long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs).

    "For the next three to four years, India is going to have acute shortage of electricity. Therefore, we are more tilted towards merchant power. Over time, as India develops more power plants, we will shift towards long-term PPA-backed sales," Mr Jindal said.

    Meanwhile, JSW Energy is also exploring opportunities in the power distribution sector to diversify the company's business.

    The company is presently engaged in generation, transmission and trading of electricity and is eyeing electricity distribution in the western region, as it has power plants in the region.

    JSW Energy plans to evacuate power from its generating stations through its transmission lines and further distribute it.

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