Exhibitions in only five global cities enjoy this status: Tokyo, Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt and Detroit. If Auto Expo gets the premium tag, it will be the first formal acknowledgment of the growing importance of the countrys automobile sector that in the recent past has grown at a pace next only to Chinas. This, government sources say, is expected to swell the number of foreign tourists and raise the interest of foreign media.
In fact, OICA chairman Patrick Blaine will be part of the inaugural team unveiling the week-long automobile exhibition. A final OICA decision would, however, depend on the overall success of Januarys Auto Expo. According to sources, it was in the annual general meeting of OICA in Bucharest this October that chairman Blaine first proposed giving India the same status enjoyed by the auto shows in the United States, Japan, Germany, Switzerland and France.
Indications are that the Auto Expo will win approval from OICA. Spread over 1.25 lakh sq m, the event showcases over 50 models of cars boasting the best in motoring technologies. Auto giants like Ford, General Motors, Renault, Nissan and Honda are expected to unveil prototypes of futuristic products during the event a subtle reminder of the shifting tide in the worlds automobile market. Tata Motors has been awarded the largest pavilion of 6,000 sq m where they would showcase products from the Jaguar-Land Rover stable and Fiat as well. Maruti Suzuki will have about 4,000 sq m, followed by Hyundai with 2,500 sq m.
The recognition is long overdue. Indian Auto Expo has one of the largest footfalls in the world. It has a big following in India as well now, an automobile industry source said.
Interest in the latest Auto Expo is higher since it unfolds in the backdrop of fledgling sales the world over. Though car sales have shown a declining trend in the last six months, industry experts and analysts say it is only a temporary phenomenon.