Thursday, February 06, 2014
By Kamal Swami
Major car makers displaying stunning models in Auto Expo 2014
From a "me too" event in the world of automobiles, the Indian motor show has matured to a mega event with top companies using it as a platform for global launches. Wednesday was proof of the Indian auto market's newfound strength given the string of global unveilings, something that was unique to this edition of the annual event. Top world players — Renault, Honda and General Motors — were joined by domestic heavyweights such as Tata, Bajaj Auto BSE -0.98 % and Hero MotoCorp BSE -1.07 % who put on show their international ambitions driving in new models and concepts.
The Renault Kwid, a high-tech concept car, was a showstopper. This was the French carmaker's first-ever global unveiling outside European turf. "India is now a priority market. The unveiling of the Kwid here is proof of that," Gilles Normand, Renault's Asia-Pacific chairman said. Renault plans to target new markets with this vehicle, a product of the collaborative efforts of designers from around the world, including India.
Honda drove in the Vision XS-1, a "creative study model" for a crossover utility vehicle. The model, Honda said, is based on the "man maximum, machine minimum" principle. It's compact in size, but combines a sporty exterior styling with amazing roominess. It has a three-row seating arrangement for seven passengers and sliding doors.
The race to grab eyeballs on SUVs was impressive with Fiat, GM's Chevrolet and Tata getting their debutants. The Fiat Avventura, built on the Punto-Linea platform, for instance, will be positioned as a "contemporary urban vehicle" and launched later this year. General Motors surprised with its release: The Chevrolet Adra, a concept SUV. Developed by Indian designers at GM's Bangalore technical centre, Adra adopts the traditional global Chevrolet design language. At the same time, it addresses local expectations to cater to Gen-next Indian buyers. "Adra is a work of our Indian designers, who conceptualized and designed it," confirmed Michael P Simcoe, ED, global design, GM.
Source: Economic Times