Auto Expo 2014 began with a great new facility but even more heartening amid the gloomy skies and the present economic slowdown was the vibrancy of the automotive industry at what it does best: go pedal to the metal with top notch hardware to whip up the emotions. Every newspaper-wallah – 99% to be exact – asked why such in a slowdown but I guess they just don’t know how the industry works with long lead times and there is no bad or good time to roll out products. There were over 50 major reveals – spanking new concepts, brand new production models and refreshed variants of existing models – on the very first press day and another 30 odd followed on the second.
What was impressive was the faith of the OEMs in the potential of the Indian automobile market and this was just what the doctor ordered in debilitating circumstances. Impressive performances emerged from practically every one of the Indian majors, especially the homegrown names – Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp, TVS, et al and I think this augurs well for the coming years. Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai flexed their muscles with concepts and brand new models, Nissan, Renault, Ford, Fiat, showed they were raring to mix it with the big guys while the grandees like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi were at their sizzling best.
This issue of ZEEGNITION though focuses on two impressive new segments which will dominate the senses in the Indian market in the coming years – small compact SUVs or crossovers built on the large hatchback platforms among the four-wheelers while with two wheels less we can look forward to new age sporty premium motorcycles with affordability being penciled in from the design stage itself. Love what Bajaj Auto has done with its Pulsar CS400 and SS400 super sports bikes while TVS has really impressed with its liquid cooled 250cc Draken. Honda showed off its wholly Indian-designed and developed concept machine with its former partner Hero MotoCorp coming up with a sharply styled streetfighter concept. A deep dive into zeegnition.com will have much much more for you to devour.
And in closing a big hand to the SIAM, ACMA and the CII plus the UP authorities for putting on a very very good show. This is what the Auto Expo needed to be and we got there in 2014! Let's stay there from now on!