The 10th Auto Expo flagged off at the Pragati Maidan exposition grounds in New Delhi on Tuesday, attracting over 2,100 participants from 30 countries in a growing testimony to India's emergence as a major market and hub for the global automobile industry.
The organisers, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said they expected some two million visitors during the week-long show -- much higher than the numbers attracted by similar events at Shanghai and New York last year.
"We will have 40 percent more visitors this time and will have over 10 global launches and 50 other launches with all the well-known auto makers taking part," said Pawan Goenka, the auto society's president. "We expect around two million visitors."
The Indian automotive industry has a turnover of more than $18 billion (Rs.90,000 crore) today and expects to gain significantly through new tie-ups, partnerships and marketing initiatives during Auto Expo, the organisers added.
Even though the event, co-hosted by the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) began on Tuesday, it will be formally inaugurated Jan 6 by Heavy Industries Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.
The organisers said the expo was witnessing the largest-ever overseas participation with contingents from Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Taiwan and Britain.
This time, commercial vehicles, two-wheelers and other variety of automobile accessories are also on display. Japan's Toyota is displaying the Etios, especially designed for India, with German carmaker Volkswagen showcasing its much-awaited super-mini Polo.
Others like the US-based carmaker General Motors had added a radically different looking car named Beat to its existing line up of compacts here. Honda, too, is unveiling a new model.
Other displays at the event include a wide range of new and locally designed and developed auto components. Many of these component designs have been patented in the country as well as overseas.
The auto sector is betting big on the event as makers of luxury cars are increasingly looking at making India a sourcing hub for components, besides using more local components in cars for the domestic market.
"Auto Expo will act as a platform for both Indian and foreign business visitors where they will have ample opportunity to see products on display as well interact with officials of component companies at the venue," ACMA president Jayant Davar said.