Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the organisers for the week-long extravaganza Auto Expo starting next month, say that increasing non-participation of companies is a result of their own high costs and not because of stall rates charged from them.
As many as 30 brands won’t be participating in this year’s Auto Expo including prominent names such as Bajaj Auto, Harley-Davidson, Royal Enfield, Volkswagen Group, Ford, to name a few.
These companies have cited external reasons ranging from high running costs, inconvenient location and poor management for non-participation. Some have skipped the event stating that it largely focuses on cars and SUVs leaving very little space for bike, truck and bus manufacturers.
Internal reasons include lack of availability of new products/concepts to showcase and water tight budgetary funds especially from the Indian subsidiaries of global giants. Organisers have acknowledged that there has been a fall in company interest in the event but added that newer entrants such as Kia and Kawasaki have somewhat made up for the loss.
“We have seen that some of the regulars like Volkswagen group and Ford have dropped off. They said they have problems. India itself is going through huge disruption such as BS-VI, electrification etc. Many companies are not bringing any conventional vehicle. There are no serious launches to showcase”, said Sugato Sen, deputy director general, SIAM speaking to Moneycontrol.
While SIAM says it has not raised rates it charges for stalls since 2012, participating companies say that the overall expenditure for the seven-day event weighs heavy on their financials. An average of Rs 10-25 crore is spent by companies which includes cost of stall, food and beverage, security, lighting equipment and decoration, electricity cost, public relations and event management personnel costs, transportation, celebrity endorsement costs, accommodation to name a few.
“We have not raised prices since 2012. In fact we are giving the stall at a discounted price of Rs 8,400 (per sq meter) compared to the original price of Rs 8,900”, added Sen. To be sure the rates charged by the organizers are higher than those charged by organizers at coveted international events like Detroit Auto Show and Geneva Motor Show, as per Sen.
The India Auto Expo, which is held at the India Expo Mart, Greater Noida Official is already amongst the top 7-8 motor shows in the world. The official, howeve, refused to estimate the number of the footfalls expected this year but said that it could be higher than previous edition given that one extra day has been added in the light of the enthusiastic response the event has generated so far.
During 2016 little more than 6.01 lakh people had visited the Expo while in 2014 5.61 lakh people had come to event. The event is already the largest of its kind Expo in the world with more than 1 lakh footfalls every day.
“Nowhere else in the world is the number higher than the Auto Expo. Some international expos are held more 2 weeks or 18 days. So the total number of visitors they have are obviously much higher”, added Sen.
Even though many brands and companies have opted out of the event there is no reduction in the space allotted for exhibition. About 65,000 sq meters of gross exhibition area has been allotted which is the same as previous edition said the officials.
“There will be more than 100 unveilings in this edition including 24 commercial launches. In the previous edition there were just 2-3 new launches”, said Arun Malhotra, chairman SIAM Trade Fair.
Regulars like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Hero Motocorp, Tata Motors and Honda will be participating in the event. Maruti will showcase the all-new Swift while Tata Motors will showcase its premium challenger to the Maruti Baleno.