Glamour shifts into high gear for auto brands

Written by Yogima Seth | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 8 2010, 04:30am hrs
Apart from record global launches at 10, local launches at 50 and variants at 100, the ongoing Auto Expo has another unique feature; it can boast of the highest footfall of celebrity endorsers.

From some of the most lusted Bollywood faces, like Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi and John Abraham, to cricket icon Saurav Ganguly and Moto GP champion Valentino Rossi, all have a date with the week-long motor extravaganza in the Capital. While Shah Rukh, Devgan, Oberoi and Sourav were star crowd-pullers on Wednesday, John Abraham had graced the event the day before. The week-end would see Rossi and Saif Ali Khan dropping in.

Wednesday saw actor Gul Panag as a special invitee of SkodaAuto India, while the biggest showstopper was undoubtedly Shah Rukh Khan, who despite being characteristically late for nearly two hours, kept the audience glued to the Hyundai pavilion. The actor, who has been the brand ambassador of Hyundai for years now, was at the Expo to unveil the electric i10.

Likewise, Ajay Devgan, who was the first customer of Scorpio when the SUV was launched in 2002, enhanced crowding at the Mahindra & Mahindra pavilion, where the actor had come to launch the limited edition of Mahindra Scorpio as well as unveil the Scorpio coffee table book.

Similar customer association could also be seen at the Dilip Chhabria pavilion where the internationally acclaimed automotive designer had invited Vivek Oberoi. It was sometime back that Chhabria had designed a Rs 3.3 crore car for Oberoi and the buzz at the pavilion was that the actors visit to his pavilion is a gesture for the same. Dilip Chhabria, in association with the DY Patil group, on Wednesday announced the launch of the DYPDC Centre for Automotive Research and Studies, Indias unique institution for automotive studies. Vivek Oberoi unveiled the first car from the institute designed by Chhabria.

For most of these Bollywood biggies, the Expo means a business visit but some define it as a personal association, and thats what one heard from John Abraham, the brand ambassador of India Yamaha Motor, on Tuesday: I consider this a marriage of Yamaha and me, he had told FE on becoming the advisor to Yamaha India.

Likewise, Sourav Ganguly, on Wednesday, unveiled the 125cc and 150cc bikes from Kolkata-based Vibgyor.

Saif Ali Khan is expected at the General Motors pavilion.