The Auto Expo at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi is one expo in this side of the world that you do not want to miss. Being Asia’s biggest expo for automobiles, it brings to the table all the major aswell as the emerging players in the automobile industry showcasing everything from new products to prototypes for the future.

Asia’s largest and complete automotive show, the Auto Expo conceived in the year 1985, had its debut showcasing in 1986. From providing a platform to the Indian automotive industry, to see and learn new technologies being used by the developed world, today a quarter century later, it provides a platform to the Indian automotive industry to showcase its expertise as a sourcing hub and the global industry to launch itself in the Indian market.

The Auto Expo 1986 was organized from 3 — 11 January 1986 at Pragati Maidan, NewDelhi by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM) and Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA). It was a big effort at that time to cope with 12000 square meters of indoor and 4000 square meters outdoor space. The year 1986 began with high hopes and great optimism for the Industry. The Auto Expo 1986 was a window for technology transfers since it showed how the Indian Automotive Industry was absorbing new technologies and promoting indigenous R&D for adapting these technologies for the rugged Indian conditions! The 9 day show was a path breaking event marked by Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to the show.

Companies such as Allwyn Nissan, AP Scooters Ltd, DCM Toyota, Escorts Ltd, Gujarat Narmada Auto Ltd, HMT limited, Ideal Jawa, Kinetic, Kelvinator of India Ltd., Maharashtra Scooters, Majestic Auto, Shree Chamundi Mopeds, Standard Motors, which either no longer exist or have merged with other entities were the major participants in this show. It took more than six years before the next Auto Expo could be organized in December 1993. It was felt that the Auto Industry in India was not big enough for a fair with greater frequency. The theme of the expo was to make the future happen. Aptly inaugurated by a member of the team responsible for making the future of India happen, the then Finance Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. The objective was to invite collaborators, vendors, service networks, dealers, the consumers and government to share Industry’s vision. This was also the time when global players started entering India and 7 countries participated in all.

The next Auto Expo in February 1996 was inaugurated by the then Minister of External Affairs, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, and the highlight of the event was the EU — India Automotive Business Forum. Under the leadership of Mr. Brijmohan Lall, the celebration of the France Day was inaugurated by the Petroleum Minister Capt Satish Sharma, the Italy day launched by Mr. Ajit Singh the then Food Minister. The accomplishment was the Auto Expo becoming the preferred launch platform for big automobile players like Daewoo, Hyundai, Ford, and Honda among others. The exhilarating journey of Auto Expo.

1998 marked the Auto Expo becoming a biennial event. It broke all previous records in terms of number of exhibitors, delegations — over 50 participants from overseas and nearly 150,000 visitors daily. Small cars were the focus, TELCO, Hyundai, Daewoo launched their new models and also the new four stroke scooters from Bajaj and TVS Suzuki were previewed. For the first time the number of exhibitors crossed 1000 in the year 2000. 25 new vehicles were launched and 22 auto component manufacturers launched their new products. Mr Murasoli Maran the then Minister for Commerce and Industry, Government of India, inaugurated the show and gave an overview of the Governments’ Policy in relation to Emission, Safety and Testing. For the first time there was a focus on environment with a special Green Pavilion. The first Asian Two Wheeler Conference was held on 13 January 2000. This was perhaps the first indication of the future role that two wheeler would play in India.

In 2002, the focus was Road Safety. A special safety pavilion was organized, focusing on Safety Technology, Road Engineering, & Enforcement. A blue print on Road Safety was presented to Government. A significant outcome of the Expo was the Indo — American agreement between SIAM, DTC and the National Alternate Fuels Training Consortium of the US to facilitate training on alternate fuel vehicles and systems. The first ever High Capacity Bus System was presented in India. Nearly 2 lakh business enquires were received and 1.5 million visitors came to the show. Now the frequency and momentum had build up for the Auto Expo the industry started expecting more out of the expo. Mr. L K Advani, Deputy Prime Minister of India inaugurated the 7th Auto Expo in 2004. 840 Indian and 120 overseas companies participated in the expo which showcased the capabilities of the Indian Automotive Industry in the areas of Environment, Safety, Energy Conservation, Design, Electronics, and Breakthrough Technologies.

The Auto Expo in 2006 was reorganized around thematic pavilions. The visitor response to the focused pavilions for commercial vehicles, two wheeler, alternate fuels, design and styling was very encouraging. The Auto Trade Dialogue was also conducted in a new format for the first time. The Styling and Design Conclave attracted the best design talent from around the world. A special feature was organized which had hundreds of truckers visit every day. Mr. Kamal Nath, then Minster for Commerce & Industry, Government of India inaugurated the expo. For the first time vehicle simulators were displayed. The number of launches increased considerably and so did the overseas participation, over 26 countries took part in the show. Spread over 70,000 square meters, the Auto Expo 2006 attracted about 1 million visitors and yielded business worth Rs 540 Crore’s.

The 9th Auto Expo is best summed up in two words Tata Nano, the launch of which revolutionized the entire Auto Industry in the low cost segment. The theme was “Mobility for All”. The show was jointly inaugurated by Mr. Kamal Nath, then Minister of Commerce and Industry and Mr. Santosh Mohan Dev, Minister of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises, Government of India. 25 launches took place in addition to the Nano. It was the first time the show was accredited by Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA). The first ever Diesel Pavilion that showcased the latest in technology and the efforts to reduce pollution was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Delhi, Mrs. Sheila Dixit. For the first time, Hydrogen and Hybrid Vehicles were displayed at the Auto Expo. Spread over 120,000 square meters, the mega auto carnival attracted about 1.8 million visitors and generated business worth about Rs 20,000 Crore’s. More than 100 MOUs were signed during this period. While 59% of MOUs were inked with the business visitors, 27% were with foreign visitors and about 14% with co-exhibitors.

84 international delegations from over 40 countries including Germany, France, Japan, Spain and Canada and other countries evinced keen interest in Indian Auto Component sector. Despite global economic crisis in 2008 and 2009, the 10th Auto Expo 2010 surpassed all the previous records of auto expos. With over 2100 exhibitors and 125,000 square meters of exhibition area, the all time host of Auto Expo, Pragati Maidan was fully booked. The event witnessed largest ever overseas participation from 30 countries.

Here is a look at the manufactures at the 2012 Auto Expo:

COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
PASSENGER CARS
TWO WHEELERS
ELECTRIC VEHICLES
ASHOK LEYLAND LIMITED
ASIA MOTOR WORKS LTD
AUDI INDIA
BAJAJ AUTO LTD
BMW INDIA PVT LTD
DAF TRUCKS – PACCAR
DOON SCOOTER
FIREFOX TWO WHEELERS
FORCE MOTORS LIMITED
FORD INDIA PVT LTD
GENERAL MOTORS INDIA PVT LTD
HARLEY – DAVIDSON INDIA
HERO ELECTRIC
HERO MOTOCORP
HONDA MOTORCYCLE AND SCOOTER INDIA PVT LTD
HONDA SIEL CARS INDIA LIMITED
HYUNDAI MOTOR INDIA LTD
INDIA YAMAHA MOTOR PVT LTD
INTERNATIONAL TRACTORS LTD
KAMAZ VECTRA MOTORS LTD
LOHIA AUTO INDUSTRIES
MAHINDRA AND MAHINDRA LTD
MAHINDRA REVA ELECTRIC VEHICLES (P) LIMITED
MARUTI SUZUKI INDIA LTD
MERCEDES-BENZ INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED
NISSAN MOTOR INDIA PRIVATE LTD
PEUGEOT CITROEN
PIAGGIO VEHICLES PVT LTD
POLARIS
PREMIER LIMITED
RENAULT INDIA
ROYAL ENFIELD ( A UNIT OF EICHER MOTORS LTD)
SKODA AUTO INDIA PVT LTD
SUZUKI MOTORCYCLE INDIA PVT LTD
TATA MOTORS LIMITED
TOYOTA KIRLOSKAR MOTORS PVT LTD
TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES LIMITED
TVS MOTOR COMPANY LIMITED
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP SALES INDIA PVT LTD
VOLVO BUSES INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED
COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
PASSENGER CARS
TWO WHEELERS
ELECTRIC VEHICLES

The 2012 Auto Expo has a pretty big list of participants with approximately 30 new launches expected. Stay tuned as we report live from the Auto Expo and bring you all information as it happens.