The 11th Auto Expo kicked off on Thursday with the country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki unveiling its compact SUV XA Alpha as the company aims to enter into newer segments.
Managing director and CEO Maruti Suzuki India, S Nakanishi, poses with the new XA-Alpha concept SUV car during the 2012 Auto Expo in New Delhi. AFP/Manan Vatsyayana
"India is on course to become one of the top automobile economies of the world, powered by the middle class and continued government support. Customers will become more and more sophisticated," Maruti Suzuki managing director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi said.
"The choice of automobile will be dictated more and more by the way of life of customers. We will launch new products and create new categories to their choice," Nakanishi said.
He said the company will expand the range of its popular K-series engine, and continue to offer diesel vehicles, apart from launching new products.
The concept XA Alpha showcases the unified R&D of Suzuki Motor Corp and Maruti Suzuki India.
About five Maruti engineers were involved in the project to develop the new concept alongwith the engineers of Suzuki, which took about 10 months.
Nakanishi further said the SUV segment accounts for 14% of the total automobile market in India and since the company does not have presence in the segment, it needs one to retain its leadership position.
Commenting on the Indian market, he said, "The slowdown is short-term and temporary and Maruti network and capacity are designed for long term."
He, however, added that the company does not see good sales growth in the rest of the ongoing fiscal.
The latest edition of Auto Expo will witness as many as 50 global brands showcasing their products. The event will witness the unveiling of 24 cars by domestic companies and eight by global players, besides eight two-wheelers by homegrown firms.
The event will be open to the public from January 7 to 11.
The organisers have decided to restrict the number of people present inside the venue to one lakh daily, including 30,000 people from the exhibitors' side, a move that could cost the Delhi Auto Expo its tag of being the world's second-largest auto show in terms of footfalls.