A model poses next to a concept car at auto major Honda's stall at the Auto Expo 2018 in Greater Noida on Wednesday. (PTI)
Auto Expo 2020 will play host to a number of new launches when the event kicks off in February. However, it will miss the presence of the biggest names of the very companies that are taking part in the week-long event.
Senior executives holding important positions such as chairman, managing director and chief executive officer of large automotive companies including Renault, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz will not attend the Auto Expo.
Similar higher ranking executives from Maruti Suzuki
and Hyundai have not yet confirmed their presence for the event. The India Auto Expo, which is labelled as one of the biggest auto events globally, has played host to Toshihiro Suzuki, the president of Suzuki Motor Corporation and son of Chairman, Osamu Suzuki.
Only five years ago, the Indian automotive space was abuzz with frequent trips of several such heads of companies including Mary Barra of General Motors, Carlos Ghosn of Renault and Herbert Diess of Volkswagen, late chief of Fiat Sergio Marchionne.
A prolonged downturn and severe competition by incumbent players have dented plans of some of these global giants including General Motors and Fiat.
Nevertheless, display pavilions of those companies who are ready to put their best foot forward for the Expo will play host to some of such executives.
Fabrice Cambolive, Senior Vice President, Chairman of the Africa-Middle-East-India-Pacific, Renault will attend the Auto Expo. Renault’s former global and now ousted CEO Thierry Bolloré visited India in June this year just before the launch of the Triber.
Mercedes-Benz, India’s largest luxury carmaker and the only luxury carmaker to participate in the Expo will see the visit of Matthais Luerhs, head of overseas region, Daimler AG.
Volkswagen, which is making a comeback to the event after a gap of one edition, will see the attendance of sales and marketing chief Jurgen Stackman. Volkswagen will showcase at least four new models that will be launched in India. Stackman attended the 2016 edition of the event.
A number of foreign multinational auto companies including Honda, Toyota, Peugeot Citroen, KTM, Audi, BMW, Ford, Volvo, Yamaha, Fiat, Harley-Davidson, Triumph are not participating in the Auto Expo.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), one of the organisers of the Expo, even contemplated postponing the event by a year hoping that retail demand would have recovered by that time.
In November, the automotive sector recorded its 12th consecutive monthly decline in despite record high discounts offered by dealers.
Companies are forced to keep their factories shut while sending their staff on unscheduled leave. More than 500 dealerships are estimated to have shut shop in a little over a year, in what has been described as the biggest slump in automobile sales in India ever.