Even the legendary cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar, was left a little confused when he attended the Indian Auto Expo yesterday (Feb.03).
“For a moment I thought you had organised a cricket match here. I could see Virat (Kohli), Zaheer (Khan), and Mohinder Amarnath,” a surprised Tendulkar said, evoking applause from the media and the organisers.
The 42-year-old retired batsman had come to visit the BMW pavilion at India’s biggest auto expo, a week-long event currently underway at the 60,000-square metre India Expo Mart, in Greater Noida near New Delhi.
From homegrown carmakers, including Mahindra and Tata Motors, to global majors such as BMW and Mercedes, at least 65 automobile companies flaunted their vehicles at the biennial event.
Yet, apart from a handful of new launches, the event was mostly a congregation of the country’s celebrities, models and journalists. Apart from Tendulkar and Kohli, two of India’s biggest sporting icons, film stars Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, and Katrina Kaif were among those who lined up at pavilions. Also at the pavilions were many foreign models who were flown in to India to present the vehicles at the expo.
A few industry leaders, including the reclusive Cyrus Mistry of Tata Motors and Anand Mahindra of Mahindra, turned up, along with their entourages of business executives.
But barring a few new launches such as the Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Honda BR-V, Tata Hexa, and Hyundai Tucson, most automobiles on display were either established products brought to India for the first time, or upgraded models. These included the Jaguar XE, Mercedes GLC and S-Class Cabriolet, and Volkswagen Passat GTE.
Meanwhile, American automaker, Jeep, launched operations in India.
There was also a glimpse of what the Indian automobile market may look like in the next few years. A number of buses, two-wheelers and cars on display were either hybrid vehicles or electric. Tata Motors, for instance, showcased both versions of its buses—electric and hybrid CNG. Ashok Leyland had a CNG hybrid bus, while Mahindra launched GenZe, its electric scooter.
Here is what Day 1 of the Indian Auto expo looked like: