Showing the world that India is an automotive force to be reckoned with…
Busy. A word that conjures up images of a London Tube station on a Friday evening, or your local supermarket on Xmas eve. That’s how I had perceived it as well, until yesterday.
For yesterday I attended the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo, along with seemingly everyone else in the known universe. I’m not sure if it was bad planning, a bad layout or simply the number of people (I suspect a combination of all three) but I have never encountered such a crowded venue in my life. Truly incredible.
There are about 18 Halls in the Pragati Maidan venue in the centre of Delhi where the Expo is held and it covers every aspect of the automotive spectrum. Cars, motorbikes, trucks, accessories, parts, training – anything to do with cars was there. You don’t get a showing from most of the high end manufacturers like at other shows, but the bread-and-butter car makers were all there, with huge stands from Mercedes, Mahindra, Tata (with Jaguar-Land Rover), BMW and Ford. There were a couple of notable premieres at the show, though the big reveals are usually left for the Detroit Motor Show which is starting this week.
Ford showed off the EcoSport for the first time, a new compact SUV. In the metal it’s a very good looking car, maybe a little too high at the front but it’s certainly distinctive, especially in the bright orange hue of the show car. The reaction to the EcoSport was overwhelmingly positive in Delhi as well – they require a car which is small, nimble, practical yet offers a good view of the road which the little Ford SUV manages to combine in one great looking package.
The other notable reveal, and one we covered last week, was the DC Design Avanti. After seeing the real thing, I can confirm that from the front it is a very good looking car – very low and certainly quite stylish and sporty. But when you get to the rear it all seems to go wrong. The back end slopes down from the middle of the car, a little like the Mercedes CLS, but in the Avanti the design just doesn’t work. From the rear it looks good too, there just isn’t enough about the side profile to rescue it unfortunately – the whole side looks far too long and drawn out.
Jaguar Land Rover put on a big stand; mainly due to their Tata ownership, but it was a good chance to show off the C-X75 Supercar concept and the C-X16 coupe which we reported on earlier in the year. There was also the debut of the Defender DC100 concepts in a new red colour – seeing them for the first time in the metal I just really want them to make it like the concept – it looks rugged, utilitarian yet stylish and even sporty. Though it may not be able to replace the Defender directly, I think there is definitely a place in the line-up for the DC100.
Other notable firsts to be seen in India were the new BMW M5, Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, the launch of the Mini brand and the new VW Beetle.
It was certainly a different motor show experience, but one I was glad to get the chance to go to. Though the reveals are somewhat overshadowed by the Detroit Show, of which we’ll have coverage over the coming few days. For now check out all the images of the interesting, ugly and startlingly normal in our Gallery:
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