Small, green cars set to rule at Auto Fair

Close to two million auto enthusiasts and business visitors are expected to throng the expo, which is about to witness 50 new launches, including 10 global forays

Global automobile giants converged in New Delhi as the 10th edition of the Auto Expo opened on Tuesday, rolling out an array of cars, mostly small ones with a green theme, reports PTI.

In the world's second fastest-growing economy, commercial vehicle manufacturers too want their pie of the market and will unveil their product lines during the week-long auto fair, billed as the biggest in the world in terms of footfalls.

Close to two million auto enthusiasts and business visitors are expected to throng the fair, which is about to witness 50 new launches, including 10 of them global.

Giants like Toyota, Honda, Suzuki and General Motors are all here but most of them are unveiling their small and concept cars, high on fuel efficiency.

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

Honda and Toyota launched their concept small cars with an eye on the growing Indian market. They also want to use India as their global manufacturing hub, mostly for small cars. Toyota unveiled its concept small car 'Etios' specially developed for the Indian market. The company which has a joint venture with the Kirloskar Group, is investing around Rs3,200 crore to set up its second manufacturing facility in Bengaluru to roll out the car by early 2011.

"Our tagline represents the choice of India for the global premiere of the Etios concept, following which, export to other countries will be evaluated," Toyota Motor Corp vice chairman Kazuo Okamoto said.

He said the Indian market, expected to grow to four million units by 2015, is important for the Japanese auto major.

Maruti Suzuki unveiled a small multi-purpose concept vehicle (MPV) as India's number one car manufacturer wants to create a new segment. The concept vehicle has been developed by Maruti Suzuki at its research and development centre.

German auto major Volkswagen introduced its small 1.2-litre car Polo with a promise to launch the sedan version on the same platform in the second half of this year. "The Polo stands for German engineering and top technology. It is a lively young cosmopolitan made-in-India car," Volkswagen AG member of the board of management Jochem Heizmann said.

Two-wheelers were not to be left behind. Iconic US motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson announced a plan to bring 12 motorcycles in the Indian market priced between Rs6.95 lakh and Rs34.95 lakh (ex-showroom New Delhi).

Munjals-promoted Hero Electric launched three electric scooters priced between Rs17,900 and Rs32,796.
 

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