ARE WE AT THE END OF THE MOTOR SHOW ERA? Going into the Auto Expo there was this massive scare around the coronavirus, which added a further pall of gloom with participants having dropped significantly and not a single bike manufacturer of consequence making it worth their while to attend. Although, the Expo went off swimmingly in any event. We saw cars that mattered and didn’t waste time over nonsensical concepts. Okay, we were forced to cast an eye over concepts whose only purpose was to preview an alleged future design direction, but having fewer halls to run between meant we could poke around cars that excited the 8-year-old in us. Like the Tata Sierra that made fan boys out of supposedly hardened journalists. Off-roaders like the insane Gurkha concept with Unimog axles that lifted it almost to the roof. Fruits of the sizeable investment into the VW Group’s revival in India: the Creta-fighting Skoda Vision IN and Volkswagen Taigun. And of course, Hyundai fighting back with the new Creta. Bizarrely its doors were locked so, like 8-yearolds, we cupped our hands and rubbed our noses against the glass to get a good look inside while, next door, Kia had the doors locked but the glass completely blacked-out to keep the Sonet’s cabin a mystery. Hate to break to it them, but there’s only so much excitement we will be able to muster when the inevitable interior reveal happens. I thought Hyundai missed a trick by not doing something big with the N brand, the upcoming turbo-petrol Grand i10 Nios hidden away in a corner. They do need an incorrigible petrolhead driving the agenda for their go-faster brand in India.
At Great Wall Motors my ears perked up at the planned 1 billon US dollar investment buoyed, no doubt, by MG’s initial success that they will be building on with the Fortuner-rivalling Gloster and Innova-rivalling G10. Mercedes made a GLE do the bhangra to a Punjabi-pop track (I’m not joking) and then pulled the wraps off of the most powerful car of the Expo, the one you see thundering across this issue’s cover. The 4-Door GT 63 S is an India exclusive, though we’re not in the business of making a song and dance about exclusives. And finally, after we were back home to nurse our aching feet, Maruti Suzuki put the Jimny on their stand, perhaps to save themselves from journalists haranguing them over the one car they’d actually put their own money on.
Enjoy our Auto Expo special and brace yourself for a flood of new cars and bikes in the months to come.L