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Cap on visitors unlikely to take sheen off auto show

It promises to be glitzier, swankier and crazier than ever before, but the 11th New Delhi Auto Expo that begins this Saturday may no longer be one of the biggest automotive shows in the world. Sumant Banerji reports.

autos Updated: Jan 05, 2012 16:14 IST
Sumant Banerji
Auto-Expo-2012-50-new-models-to-be-unveiled
Auto-Expo-2012-50-new-models-to-be-unveiled

It promises to be glitzier, swankier and crazier than ever before, but the 11th New Delhi Auto Expo that begins this Saturday may no longer be one of the biggest automotive shows in the world.

With the number of people visiting the show capped at just 100,000 a day, the Expo, which had grown to become the second largest auto show in the world, is set to fall from that heady high this year.

This year, not more than 600,000 people will visit the show — less than half the 1.2 million-plus that attended it in 2010. And with only a little over 200,000 tickets up for grabs over the 6-day period, the chances of people returning empty-handed are high.

“It is not a decision that we have taken but it is the Delhi Police and India Trade Promotion Organisation who have decided to put the cap,” said Vishnu Mathur, director general, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). “We are hopeful that this will make the event more manageable even if the footfalls would go down.”

Ironically though, the auto manufacturers are not complaining.

“Every inch of space available in the venue is taken and it is no longer fit to cater to crowds of a million plus,” said a senior official with a prominent car maker. “We do not want a repeat of what happened in 2010 when our staff was abused and equipment damaged. That kind of thing does not happen in any other auto show around the world.”

The number of new launches would however continue unabated. Over 50 new cars, motorbikes and concept vehicles are set to be showcased during the show.