New Delhi: A host of launches and unveiling of a series of models and concepts amid a dash of Bollywood glamour marked the glitzy start of the auto extravaganza here on Thursday.

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The 11th Auto Expo, which began with Maruti Suzuki India unveiling its 'XA Alpha' concept SUV, also saw Tata Group chief Ratan Tata making perhaps the first public appearance together with his successor Cyrus P Mistry at the unveiling of Tata Motors' new vehicles.

While Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan was the main attraction at the launch of DC Design's Avanti sports car, which is priced at Rs 30 lakh ex-showroom, actor Katrina Kaif got the biggest cheers at the unveiling of Audi's Q3 SUV.


When it came to automobile brands, BWM group's iconic Mini brand was the highlight of the day as the company announced its India launch with prices going up to Rs 31.99 lakh.

India Yamaha Motor and Nissan Motors India also had their respective brand ambassadors John Abraham and Ranbir Kapoor unveil new products during the day, while Farhan Akhtar and Irfan Khan were the main attractions at Mercedes Benz's unveiling of its A-Class concept car.

While only a few auto-makers launched new cars and two-wheelers, many showcased new concepts and to-be-launched models.

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India announced a Rs 1,000 crore investment for capacity expansion in the next 3-4 years, while Mahindra & Mahindra said it is investing Rs 800 crore over the next 3-4 years to develop a joint platform for two products with Korean subsidiary SsangYong Motor.

On a day where there was more showcasing of concepts than the launch of production models, the country's second-largest car-maker Hyundai used the opportunity for the global premiere of a new concept multi-purpose vehicle 'Hexa Space', which it intends to launch in the next three to four years, and also showcased a new version of the Sonata, to be launched in India by February-end.

While Tata Motors displayed four concept cars equipped with alternate fuel technology under the brands Tata Nano CNG, Indigo Manza diesel-electric hybrid, Tata Starbus Fuel Cell and Tata Indica Magic Iris CNG, Ford Motor displayed its compact EcoSport SUV in India for the first time.

Premium car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz, on the other hard-launched its luxury M-Class SUV, priced at Rs 58-60 lakh, along with a powerful open-top vehicle, SLS AMG Roadster, with a price tag of about Rs 3 crore.

It also showcased the future of automobiles with its A-Class concept and fuel cell technologies.

German auto major Volkswagen also unveiled a concept car and the latest version of the iconic Beetle.

Japan's Nissan Motor Company unveiled a seven-seater car, 'Evalia', developed in partnership with Ashok Leyland at the event.

In the bike segment, Harley Davidson launched two locally assembled models priced lower than their imported motorcycles.

British bike-maker Triumph today entered India with the launch of seven models priced between Rs 5.5 lakh and Rs 22 lakh.

German car-maker BMW also launched its M5 luxury sedan in the Indian market at an ex-showroom price of Rs 95.9 lakh.

Apart from announcing a Rs 1,000 crore investment, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India unveiled seven new models at the expo.

Another motorcycle-maker, India Yamaha Motor, said it plans to set up its third plant in the country, for which it has started scouting for land in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The company, which plans to invest Rs 800 crore in the next two years on capacity enhancement, said it expects to sell around 10 lakh units by 2014.

Even luxury bus-maker Volvo Buses India is planning a second manufacturing plant in the country, even as it invests Rs 400 crore to ramp up capacity at its existing facility at Bangalore.

(Agencies)