Tuesday, December 22, 2009

10 New Models At Delhi Auto Expo

Global auto makers will unveil 10 new car models at the upcoming New Delhi Auto Expo as part of their strategy to tap the growing Indian market, where annual car sales are forecast to grow to 3 million units by 2016.

"We expect nearly 1.8 million visitors to the expo," said Rajive Kaul, chairman of the steering committee for Auto Expo 2010. "We have cut short the auto expo by two days this year as we were not certain about the global economic conditions."

Makers including Suzuki Motor Corp. (7269.TO), Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (HMC) and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.TO) will be among those unveiling cars at the expo, which Kaul says will have 2,100 participants from 30 countries.

"(Delhi Auto Expo) will be the largest show in terms of footfalls as some of the auto shows overseas saw reduced participation," said Dilip Chenoy, director general of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

The global economic slowdown didn't severely affect demand for new cars in India, prompting several global auto makers to increase their focus on Asia's third-largest market after China and Japan.

Local sales in India started rising in February, after declining for four months, and surged 61% in November to 133,687 units, the largest percentage gain since February 2004.

The Indian unit of Toyota Motor--Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd.--will globally premiere a concept version of its small car, the company's first small car for the Indian market, at the auto show. The model, with a 1.2 liter gasoline engine, will be commercially launched in India by end-2010.

Honda Siel Cars India Ltd., a unit of Japan's Honda Motor, will also showcase the concept version of its second small car model in India, which is likely to be launched in the country in 2011.

Small cars comprise nearly two-thirds of annual car sales in India.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (532500.BY), India's largest car maker by sales, will display 17 vehicles at the expo, it said.

Ford Motor Co. (F) and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (7201.TO) will, however, be among the notable absentees from the Jan. 5 to Jan. 11 show.

Source: Online.wsj.com


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