Saturday, 10 March 2018

Major carmakers give Pune Auto Expo a miss


10/3/2018

PUNE: The 17th edition of Pune Auto Expo began on a rather dull note with major four-wheeler makers, barring Honda Cars India, not even putting up their stalls at the venue. This lukewarm participation comes even as Pune is home to over a third of the country's automobile manufacturing industry.

Multinational carmakers like Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, General motors and national automakers like Bajaj Auto, Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Motors have factories in the district. “Pune is home to not only large auto manufacturers but also a large ecosystem of suppliers. If the big names do not participate, how will the small businesses grow,” K.M. Pinglekar, co-convenor, Pune Auto Expo, said.

On the poor participation, he said, “Companies spend crores of rupees in renting a hall during the Delhi Auto Expo, but for the same event in Pune, they want the booth in just a few thousands (of rupees).” Even Honda showcased its existing models. A few other automakers, such as Kinetic, showcased their electric carriers and some stalls were occupied by engineering graduates who have won accolades for their working models.

Asked why even the Pune-headquartered companies go to Delhi but skip the event in Pune, Virmeet Singh Maini of Pune Automobile Dealers Association said, “People tend to go where the crowds are.” To be sure, some automakers like Bajaj Auto and Royal Enfield have also been skipping the Delhi Auto Expo for the last two editions. The reasoning among these players is that they get a more prominent mindshare by staying focused on independent events.

“Most of the automakers are affiliated to auto component manufacturers association or the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers – both of which are Delhi-based. So, they get companies to agree to participate in the event,” Pinglekar contented. He requested the associations in Pune to, likewise, ensure that their members participate in the event in the coming years.

“Over 250 auto component makers from the Pune region participate in the Delhi event. Even if 100 of them take part in the regional event, it will be great,” PNR Rajan, convenor, Pune Auto Expo, said. The expo, being held at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch’s indoor stadium, will continue till March 11 and is expected to draw over 60,000 people.

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