India’s biggest and hugely popular auto event the Auto Expo that was to begin on February 2, 2022, has been deferred following worries over a possible third coronavirus wave. A new date is yet to be announced.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), which is the country's apex auto lobby body and one of the organisers, made the announcement on August 2. The weeklong Auto Expo is held every two years and is a showcase event for India's automotive industry.
“There is uncertainty around how COVID-19 would develop in the coming months and at the same time, organising Auto Expo would need a lead time of preferably a year,” Rajesh Menon, Director General, SIAM said.
While new cases of COVID-19 have seen a sharp dip from the peak of 400,000 a day in May to around 40,000 cases now, a third wave is a cause of concern as active cases rise and recoveries lag.
The 2020 Auto Expo saw over 608,000 visitors and 352 products from 108 exhibitors.
“Auto Expo is like a festival of celebration, for the Indian automobile industry and we look forward to receiving maximum people with no fear of the spread of infection. The magnitude of the risk of spread of infection is extremely high in a B2C show like Auto Expo which is visited by large crowds and maintaining social distancing would be difficult,” Menon added.
SIAM said the new dates of the Auto Expo would be finalised later this year keeping in view the pandemic and in alignment with the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA) calendar of global auto shows.
Over the last few editions, organisers have been battling diffused participation from automakers who have repeatedly excused themselves from the mega event.
Bajaj Auto, Royal Enfield, Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, Citroen, Ford, Yamaha, Ashok Leyland, Fiat, Jeep, Honda Cars, Hero MotoCorp, TVS Motor Company did not participate in the 2020 Auto Expo.
The Auto Expo 2022 was to be the 16th edition of the biennial event. The event which was first held in 1986 has been held regularly since 1996. Due to a space crunch, The event was moved from Pragati Maidan in New Delhi to India Expo Mart in Greater Noida in 2014.