Why cos like Enfield, Harley and Skoda are staying away from Auto Expo

  • Sunny Sen, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 03, 2016 10:46 IST
Siddhartha Lal, MD & CEO, Eicher Motors Ltd and Rudratej Singh, president, Royal Enfield at the launch of Himalayan, a motorbike designed for mountain riding. (PTI Photo)

Bajaj Auto, maker of the Pulsar motorcycles, launched its new brand “V” on Monday at a Delhi hotel. The bike is not on any agenda published by the organizers of the AutoExpo, which is scheduled to open to the public on Friday. The Pune-based motorcycle major is not taking part.

The AutoExpo, which is organised on the lines of the Geneva and the Detroit motor shows, happens in India once every two years. It’s the time when all major auto makers showcase their cars at beautifully designed pavilions.

However, it’s not only Bajaj that’s staying away, eight other brands including Royal Enfield, Harley-Davidson, SkodaAuto, Volvo, and Daimler commercial vehicles have decided not to put up their stalls at the Expo this year.

If estimated numbers are to be taken, automakers who have given the Expo a miss can do up to 10-12 product launches at any five-star hotel in the capital. For a pavilion that is around 5,000 square meter, auto companies would spend anything between `15-20 crore, which includes rentals, the cars and models, and dressing up the pavilion. Rentals per square-meter for the ground floor at the Expo is `8,900.

A car launch in a hotel would cost anything between `1.5-2 crore, which would include renting out the banquet hall, food, setting up the space and hiring models.

However, to put things in perspective, the Expo is a seven day affair, but a product launch lasts for a couple of hours “It is a festival where media, trade and other stake holders are engaged. A hotel launch is just for media,” said a spokesperson for one of India’s largest selling car company.

Also, the Expo is for the media, people from the trade, for individuals and other stakeholders, while a hotel launch is primarily for the media. “It is a different cost structure. You are not getting five lakh people inside a hotel. The scale is different,” said Vishnu Mathur, director general at Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, which is one of the organisers of the event.

Commenting on companies opting out of the Expo Mathur said that it’s the respective companies’ decision, and he will be unable to comment on their behalf. However, Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto told one of the financial dailies, “If we are not an Indian manufacturer and if I was coming to India, I (would) want people to know me, (and then) I should participate. I will participate in Angola or Nigeria, where people don’t know me (Bajaj Auto). This condition does not apply to Bajaj Auto (in India).”

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