Auto Expo 2010: Who dazzles the best?

By Neha Kalra and Sukhjinder Singh , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Automotives
Last updated : January 13, 2010
At the Auto Expo, held every two years, brands showcase their best with much fanfare. afaqs! takes a peek at the pomp and show

Automobile companies tried their best to lure consumers, as well as trade partners, at the 10th Auto Expo held in New Delhi. From grand displays and celebrity presence to attractive hosts, everything is tried at this biennial event. This time round, several stars - be it John Abraham, Shah Rukh Khan or Saif Ali Khan - made it to the event for their respective brands.

Shashank Srivastava, chief general manager, marketing, Maruti Suzuki, says, "There is a three-fold objective to be a part of the event: first, to test the market response of some of our concept models; second, to talk about the vehicles that are currently under production, but not yet launched; third, to showcase one's technological supremacy."

Besides, the buzz created through media coverage is an added advantage for the brands.

As per industry estimates, auto companies spent around Rs 455 crore for this event this year. Out of this, Rs 400 crore was spent on designing and setting up the stalls; while Rs 55 crore was for the space.

It is estimated that the German brands such as Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi and Volkswagen spent around Rs 12-15 crore each on designing and fabrication of the stalls. Back home, Tata Motors and Maruti are estimated to have spent around Rs 15 crore and Rs 8 crore, respectively.

The cost was higher for the German brands, because they sourced everything from abroad, starting from materials to manpower. That is because the German companies are very particular about uniformity while portraying their brands.

At the Merc stall, the steel logo carved on a black background, along with the pillars of steel added to the visibility; whereas the Volkswagen stall played around with lighting for effects. Diffused lighting was utilised throughout the stall, which was reflected by the white surrounding for a soothing effect. The company had its typical white background, with bold black inscriptions of the various vehicles of the company such as the Beetle and the Passat.

On the last day of the event, Maruti Suzuki, the mass brand, drew the crowds with dance performances, music and consumer engagement.

Auto Expo has been the event that has witnessed the evolution of the Tata Motors brand. The company, which first participated in the event as a truck manufacturer, today talks about brands such as the Jaguar, Land Rover, and even Fiat.

This year, the two Japanese brands, Toyota and Honda were in the same hall. The attraction at the Toyota stall with white backdrop, white cars and red logo on display, was Toyota Etios, which was unveiled at the event.

Honda's stall stood out too, with its grey cars and red logo.

Bike major, Hero Honda had all eyes locked on its waterfall show, portraying the brand and its products with the help of showers of water.

The Auto Expo is a complete automotive show, organised jointly by Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

The revenue for CII as an organiser, from the 10th Auto Expo, is estimated to be in the region of Rs 55 crore, reveals a source.

The first Auto Expo was held in 1986, the second in 1993, and the third in 1996. Since then, Auto Expo has been institutionalized as a biennial show.

(Sukhjinder Singh is director, Business Edge Events and an ex-CII official.)

First Published : January 13, 2010

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