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High rents, recession may put brakes on Delhi auto expo

autos Updated: Jun 02, 2009 21:08 IST
Sumant Banerji

The list of global automobile expositions hit by recession just got a little longer. Courtesy a 23 per cent hike in rental demanded by Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the New Delhi auto expo next year could also join the list. The economic slowdown has hit almost every auto expo this year, with the Geneva Motor Show and the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show becoming smaller in size.

The rental charged by the ITPO last year was in the range of Rs 4,800-4,900 per square metre. But the organisation is now asking for almost Rs 5,900 per square metre.

A host of expos like the ones in London, Melbourne and St Petersburg has been cancelled altogether due to a lack of participation. While the Indian and Chinese expos are the direct beneficiaries of this reduction, the ITPO’s new overture has ensured that the organising committee of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and Automotive Component Manufacturers Association have not been able to announce the expo.

“The price increase by the ITPO comes at a very inappropriate time,” said Dilip Chenoy, director-general, SIAM. “This is a time when organisers worldwide are incentivising automobile exhibitions. A hike in rentals is thus uncalled for.”
The New Delhi auto expo was catapulted to the league of the world’s biggest auto expos, thanks to the hype surrounding the

Tata Nano, which was first showcased during the expo in January 2008. It helped the event clock a record visitor number of 1.6 million, much higher than the Paris and Tokyo Motor shows. The expo is also by far the largest revenue earner for the ITPO at Rs 29 crore last year.

“The hike is in line with the rise in prices over years,” said an official at the ITPO who refused to be named. “This is, however, not finalised and we are looking at what we can do on a case-to-case basis.”