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Asia’s largest auto carnival begins in Delhi tomorrow

Special Correspondent

Auto Expo 2008 will showcase Tatas’ Rs. 1 lakh “people’s car”

NEW DELHI: Preparations are continuing on a war-footing at Pragati Maidan here, which will host Asia’s largest automobile carnival “Auto Expo 2008” from Thursday.

Apart from the much-awaited unveiling of Tata Motors’ Rs.1-lakh “people’s car,” all auto majors — Maruti Suzuki, Honda, Hyundai, Skoda, Fiat, BMW, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, Daimler, General Motors, Audi and Porsche — are ready to showcase their future products.

Being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), the theme of the eight-day event is “Mobility for All.” The exhibition will also feature green and future technologies, concept vehicles and robots. Major bike-makers, three-wheeler players, auto parts manufacturers and heavy vehicle manufactures will also participate.

2,000 exhibitors

The exposition will see the participation of more than 2,000 exhibitors against 1,200 in 2006. Over 10 lakh people are likely to visit the fair, which will also have special pavilions on accessories and car decor, garage equipment and automation. It will host the largest-ever overseas participation with pavilions from Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Major cars and concept vehicles to be unveiled at the show include Maruti Suzuki’s A-Star, Splash, Swift sedan, Kizashi and Suzuki APV (light commercial van); Hyundai Motor India’s “i20” concept car, HND Veloster, Genesis and Qarmac; Tata Motors’ concept car Elegante; Fiat’s Grande Punto, Linea and the new Palio; Honda Siel’s advanced hydrogen concept car FCX and its F-1 racing circuit concept Earth Car; and German major Volkswagen’s Jetta and “UP!”.

At a press conference on Tuesday, SIAM president Ravi Kant urged the government to take steps to rationalise interest rates and stimulate consumption level.

“The government should create an environment for consumption by checking interest rates, which have been rising from the last one year making it tough for consumers,” he said.

Stating that banks had also reduced funding for automobiles, which was hurting the industry, Mr. Kant said: “All these issues have already been discussed with the Finance Minister and hopefully the government will announce some positive measures soon.”

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