India: auto show raises hopes for sales comeback image

Local auto producers, including Maruti Suzuki India or Tata Motors are looking at the biennial New Delhi Auto Expo this week to be the turn point for a demand revival that could stop the country’s first auto sales drop in 12 years.

As the overall economy of Asia’s third-largest auto market grows at a rate that’s close to a decade-low, the local automakers seek to revive demand with their latest vehicle models – presented to the public during the New Delhi Auto Expo.

India’s inflation is the highest in Asia, loans are expensive and government help is not coming because the general elections due in May stirred the often more important political grudges.

“The only way to turn things around is if people are excited by the new models and concepts at the Auto Expo, which is why the show is crucial,” said Deepesh Rathore, director at Emerging Markets Automotive Advisors in New Delhi. “Slym’s untimely death will be a sad overhang.”

Tata, whose sales in India have fallen more than at any other carmaker, unveils a new hatchback, Bolt, and a compact sedan, Zest. The company will also pay tribute to Slym, who had been heading the company (except JLR) before his death fall in Thailand.

Maruti, owned by Suzuki, plans to showcase the Celerio hatchback, an unknown concept SUV and a sedan. Ford should come up with a new hatchback concept vehicle, Nissan’s low cost Datsun brand will introduce a hatchback prototype set to compete against Maruti’s best-selling Alto minicar and Honda (now third among carmakers in India) will show a new version of its Jazz hatchback, a crossover concept called Honda Vision XS1 and the Mobilio minivan.

Via Bloomberg