Auto Expo 2018
The main entrance of India Exposition Mart in Greater Noida, the venue of Auto Expo 2018IBT Media/ Ken Sunny

Curtains came down on the 14th edition of the Auto Expo, Asia's largest motor show on February 14. India's biennial show, held from February 9-14 at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida saw a record footfall of 605,175 motor enthusiasts, as against the 601,914 visitors to its previous edition in 2016.

The show, organized jointly by Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), saw over 500 product displays from 119 exhibitors. This includes 53 OEMs showcasing over 100 products, including 22 launches, 81 product unveilings, and 18 concept premieres.

The debut of automakers such as the Kia Motors, Cleveland CycleWerks, Emflux Motors was one of the major attractions of this year's show. India Kawasaki Motors also exhibited their products for the first time after severing ties with Bajaj Auto.

Cleveland CycleWerks
Cleveland CycleWerks pavilion at Auto Expo 2018IBTimes India/Ken Sunny

According to the organizers, there were 25 electric vehicles showcased in this edition of the Auto Expo. A total of 11 start-ups also marked their presence in India through this edition.

Like the previous editions, eminent personalities added zing to the six-day event. Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham, Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Gul Panag, Rahul Khanna and stand-up comedian Kanan Gill were present at the show. Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin, Gautam Gambhir and Indian seamer R P Singh also launched vehicles at the Auto Expo.

According to SIAM, the show also witnessed a tremendous response on social media. There were more than 1.5 lakh tweets using official hashtag which further garnered over 4.5 billion impressions on Twitter.

Lack of participation by automakers

One of the disappointing bit at the show was the lack of interest from automakers. Entire Volkswagen group brands that include Audi, Skoda and Ducati decided to skip the show. Other carmakers such as Ford, Jeep, Nissan, Fiat, Jaguar and Land Rover also stayed away from the Auto Expo 2018. Among two-wheeler makers, Bajaj Auto, Harley-Davidson, Triumph Motorcycles and Royal Enfield failed to turn up. 

One of the major reasons for the automakers to stay away from the Auto Expo is apparently the massive investment it entailed. While the high cost of taking up a stall and participation without any returns remains a concern, the fact that they did not have new models to showcase could be another reason.