There was some trepidation going into this Auto Expo. For starters, the expo was moving to an all-new venue – the India Expo Centre in Greater Noida. Secondly, the industry was coming off a pretty tough year – so there was a question mark about whether the glitz and glamour that’s seemingly so crucial to the success of a global motor show would be present.
Well, it’s safe to say that we needn’t have worried. Just the first couple of days themselves saw reveals, launches, showcases, and a frenzy of activity that was hard to keep up with. But keep up we did, and now we must take stock.
To do so, we teamed up with Siddharth Vinayak Patankar, and the team from NDTV, to help them sort through the melee and decide on the winners for the CNB Auto Expo Excellence Awards. There were no shortage of contenders, since the entire industry put its best foot forward and showcased a stunning array of cars, bikes, and concepts – all of which we’ve featured in the past few pages. But there were some standouts.
Honda Cars, for instance, took the courageous step of keeping its production cars open to the public, which is really what an auto show is all about – allowing people the chance to get up-close-and-personal with the machines. Honda also chose to debut its Vision XS-1 concept for the first time ever at the Expo. Hero MotoCorp, on the other hand, showed an amazing array of production two-wheelers and concepts – demonstrating an amazing depth of engineering and R&D. Bajaj took the honours for best of show, though, with the Pulsar 400 in two beautiful body styles – naked and fully faired.
Harley Davidson finally launched the much-anticipated Street 750 at a stunning ex-showroom price of `4.1 lakhs – the first brand new Harley platform in 14 years, and the first one built in India for the world market. Triumph Motorcycles, meanwhile, made quite a splash as well with a full range of bikes that will finally be available in India. Another brand that made an official – and also much anticipated – entry into the Indian market was Datsun. The mothership, meanwhile – Nissan – was busy engaging and enthralling audiences with its GT Academy simulator.
But, back to the real machines, where Volvo-Eicher displayed an impressive range of commercial vehicles – many of which will hit the roads very soon. Another duo that should hit our streets shortly are the stunning Ford Figo concept, which won Best Concept, and the very striking Mercedes-Benz GLA – which took the honours for Best of Show. One car that you can go out and buy immediately, though – and that too with an automated manual transmission – is the Maruti Celerio, which won Best Launch in the four-wheeler category.
Congratulations to all the winners, but more than that to our readers who can expect a lot of very exciting machinery to be hitting our roads in the very near future.
And the winners are...
Best Pavilion (4W): Honda Cars
Best Pavilion(2W): Hero MotoCorp
Best Premium Brand Pavilion: Mercedes-Benz India
Best Pavilion (CV): Volvo-Eicher
Best Interactive Display: Nissan GT Academy
Best Concept (2W): Hero Hastur
Best Concept (4W): Ford Figo Concept
New Brand Debuts: Triumph Motorcycles & Datsun
Best Global Debut: Honda Vision XS-1 concept
Best Of Show (4W): Mercedes-Benz GLA
Best Of Show (2W): Bajaj Pulsar 400
Best Launch (2W): Harley-Davidson Street 750
Best Launch (4W): Maruti Suzuki Celerio