Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra came out with the biggest investment plan so far, saying it will spend Rs 5,000 crore over the next three years on infrastructure, product development and capacity expansion. The company has also lined up 8-10 new variants and upgrades of its products this year.
However, the spotlight shifted to bike makers such as Triumph, DSK Hyosung and Japan's Terra Motors as they presented superbikes and electric vehicles. Britain's iconic Triumph Motorcycles expanded its offerings in India with the launch of 'Daytona 675' priced at Rs 10.15 lakh in Delhi.
The new bike is expected to give Triumph a competitive edge in the super sports segment after its entry into the Indian market with 10 models in November last year. Superbike maker DSK Hyosung, seeking to boost sales by 40 percent to 2,800 units in 2014-15, launched a 250cc bike 'Aquila 250' priced at Rs 2.69 lakh and showcased the RT 125D, GD 250N and Comet 250, which will be launched later this year.
Japanese electric two- and three-wheeler maker Terra Motors has lined up an investment of Rs 45 crore to expand operations and set up a manufacturing plant. The company entered the Indian market with the Rs 18 lakh Kiwami, an electric superbike.
Mumbai-based Vardenchi launched a bike in the range of Rs 8-12 lakh. The newly introduced motorcycle, Vardenchi T5, is designed and developed at the company's facility in Mumbai, while the engine is imported from Italy-based Moto Morini. Lohia Auto, which on Thursday launched electric-three wheeler Humrahi, is investing Rs 40 crore in the next two years to ramp up its production capacity.
Other auto makers also came out with their plans for environment-friendly vehicles. Mahindra & Mahindra unveiled its concept electric sports car Halo, which it expects to launch commercially in the next three years.
The company said the Halo will be introduced in the country, depending on support from the government for electric vehicles, and it could very well hit the overseas markets first. Swedish commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania plans to unveil green buses using non-conventional fuel such as bio-gas and ethanol in India by April this year.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor introduced its first crossover, 'New Etios Cross', targeting young customers. Available in 1.5 and 1.2 litre petrol engines and a 1.4 litre diesel engine, the crossover will be launched in May. The country's largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki India, launched the Celerio, priced between Rs 3.9 lakh and Rs 4.96 lakh in Delhi.
Bollywood registered it presence on Thursday with Sameera Reddy at the Vardenchi Motorcycles stall and Ranbir Kapoor at Hero Motocorp, adding glamour to the spate of launches at the show, organized by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India.
The industry is hoping the auto expo will stimulate demand and revive the market even as there were indications that the immediate prospects were not bright. Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra had lamented the state of limbo in India ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, saying both investors and consumers have chosen to wait until a new government is formed.
Annual car sales in India fell for the first time in 11 years in 2013, posting a 9.59 percent dip as the economic slowdown hurt the auto industry. Concerned over declining auto sales, Heavy Industry Minister Praful Patel said he has written to the Finance Minister to cut excise duty on commercial vehicles to 8 per cent from 12 percent as part of a revival package.
Patel also said the government will soon set up the National Automotive Board, which will act as a facilitator between the government and the industry. The body will promote research and development, develop skills for the growing automobile sector and act as a think-tank for the government, especially for the growth of hybrid and electric vehicles.