Auto sector looks to Expo boost to rev up flagging growth

Roudra Bhattacharya New Delhi | Updated on December 30, 2011


Public excitement may be centred around the 50-plus new vehicle launches, but the Auto Expo next week is gearing up to deliver on the business end — and give a strong boost in the process to an industry in the doldrums.

Against the backdrop of the India-EU Free Trade Agreement to be signed early next year, four of the eight visiting auto industry delegations will be from European nations: France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Other visiting delegations include Malaysia, Canada, Japan and, interestingly, one from Pakistan as well.

“There are many groups coming; the domestic supplier industry will also be present in large numbers. We expect a strong growth in business this year; there is a lot of enthusiasm,” said Mr Vinnie Mehta, Director-General of the Automotive Component Manufacturers' Association (ACMA), a co-organiser of the motor show.

The representatives from auto industry bodies across markets will come to India for a survey on their component sourcing needs and for forming business partnerships. ACMA has also planned a separate conference on automakers looking to set up international purchasing offices in India.

“The eight countries have sent prior notice of their visit, while many others usually come unannounced as well. We will give a presentation on the market, design a tour route around the fair and help them build contacts by setting up meetings,” said Mr Mehta.

“We expect the show to pull up the momentum for the auto industry, which has lagged for much of the past year,” he added.

While the association of automakers and expo co-organiser, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), mostly targets consumers, ACMA focuses on building business-to-business tie-ups for its members.

Country pavilions

Apart from the visiting delegations, various countries have also set up their own pavilions to promote their companies in India. Those who have rented larger floor space (100-200 sq m) include the United Kingdom, Canada, Taiwan and Malaysia. Groups from Thailand and Indonesia have also taken a lesser share of floor space.

“We will focus on business development and showcasing domestic technology. The idea is to create a platform, so Indian firms can harness the business opportunity,” Mr Mehta said.

SIAM will also host an ‘auto trade dialogue' with visiting delegations from around 10-12 countries on January 5. This is to understand and share experiences in the auto sector across the world.

“This is a forum where auto industry bodies from across various countries will make presentations about what changes are happening in their markets and recent policy developments. Top officials from industry bodies will be present from countries like France, Italy, Korea, Germany, Britain and Malaysia,” said Mr Sugato Sen, Senior Director at SIAM.

Published on December 30, 2011

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