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Auto Expo 2023, the largest automotive exhibition in India, came to an end with a record-breaking footfall of nearly 6.36 lakh people. As many as 82 vehicles made their début during this exhibition.


Story: Kurt Morris

Photography: Sanjay Raikar and Apurva Ambep

The India Expo Mart in Greater Noida hosted the official opening of Auto Expo 2023 and the public at large was allowed access on 13 January. Over 6.36 lakh people attended the 16th edition of India’s premier car show, setting a new attendance record. Additionally, 82 automobiles had their global or Indian début at the event.

Despite the absence of premium car-makers and mass-market two-wheeler manufacturers, the Auto Expo 2023 attracted a large number of visitors. It is important to note that the previous Auto Expo, held in 2020, had attracted 6.08 lakh people.

Along with the Chinese duo, the SAIC-owned MG Motor India and BYD Auto, significant automakers, including Maruti-Suzuki, Hyundai Motor, Tata Motors, Kia, Toyota, and Lexus were present at the Expo.

BYD

The world’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles, BYD (Build Your Dreams), held the début of the Seal sedan, dubbed a competitor to Tesla’s Model 3, at the Auto Expo 2023. The car will be formally introduced in India in the fourth quarter of this year and sales will get under way simultaneously, according to the firm.

The Seal’s price in the Indian market will also be made public by the end of this year. The car’s design is said to be influenced by BYD’s “ocean aesthetics” design language.

BYD India also unveiled the Atto 3 Special Edition, priced at Rs 34.49 lakh. It comes in a special Forest Green colour (ex-showroom). Only 1,200 units will be available.

Hyundai

Actor Shah Rukh Khan revealed the brand-new Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV at the Auto Expo. With his arms outstretched in front of the car, he welcomed the lookers-on as he launched the vehicle in style. The actor has a 25-year-long association with Hyundai and is currently the company’s brand ambassador.

The car comes with an introductory price of Rs 44.95 lakh and has a single-charge range of 631 kilometres (ARAI certified). Only the first 500 customers will benefit from the introductory price. After Kona Electric, this will be the second car in India to feature an all-electric drivetrain.

The display of the Ioniq 6 EV sedan at Hyundai’s pavilion was noteworthy. The Ioniq 6 was globally announced in June 2022 and was built using the same E-GMP skateboard design as the Ioniq 5. The Ioniq 6 is based on the Prophecy idea and features an aerodynamic silhouette, several sweeping curves, and creases. It has a drag coefficient of 0.21, according to Hyundai.

Kia

With two show-stopping vehicles, Kia India made their second appearance at the Auto Expo in 2023. The EV9 concept and the new-generation Carnival (named the KA4) took centre stage. The EV9 concept, a sneak peek at a new electric SUV from the company, was on display at Kia India. This concept, which was unveiled to the world last year, will be the company’s premier electric vehicle. The E-GMP architecture, shared with the EV6, will serve as the foundation for the new vehicle. Global production of the EV9 prototype is anticipated to begin later this year.

The fourth-generation Carnival was Kia India’s second exhibit at the Auto Expo 2023. The model, known as the KA4, is significantly larger and more opulent than the current one. Although Kia have not said anything about the KA4 coming to India, it is likely that the company was testing customer enthusiasm at this biennial automotive event.

The purpose-built Carens, which has also been transformed into an ambulance and a police car, was also on display. In addition to stretchers and oxygen tanks in the ambulance, the MPV receives specific accessories, including sirens, LED displays, and CB radios in the police car.

Maruti-Suzuki

The Maruti eVX concept was introduced to kick off the series of unveilings at the Auto Expo. Day two saw the highly anticipated début of the Jimny and the new Fronx based on the Baleno. Maruti also displayed their current line-up with a number of cosmetic updates, besides introducing a CNG variant of the Brezza.

As for the eVX, an electric SUV concept, Maruti promise a range of up to 550 km. The company said that it would have a dual motor powertrain system for 4WD. The production version of this electric concept is all set to arive in 2025.

The most awaited Jimny was finally presented at the Expo. It makes a début on a global scale as a five-door vehicle with four-wheel drive as standard. Compared to its three-door form, it strives to be more practical while still being a cute and lightweight car.

Bookings at the company’s Nexa dealerships have already got under way. Maruti may price the Jimny at Rs 10 lakh (ex-showroom).

Alongside the Jimny, the Fronx, a sub-compact crossover developed on the Baleno platform, was unveiled at the Expo. With its gorgeous look, Maruti’s Nexa series gets elevated even further into the premium segment. The 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine, which made its début in the now discontinued Baleno RS, makes a comeback with the Fronx. Its price reportedly starts from Rs 8 lakh. Bookings are already being accepted.

Morris Garages (MG)

MG displayed a selection of electric and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) automobiles that are ready for mass production. The company said that all of these models that are all sold in various international markets are being considered for India.

One of the latest models built on MG’s new modular architecture is the MG4. Two battery pack options are available for this intimidating electric hatchback, 51 kWh and 64 kWh, which offer a range of up to 350 km and 450 km respectively. The electric motor driving the rear wheels is powered by these battery packs.

The MG5, an electric estate which is a first for India, was also on display. Given that estates are not a preferred option for buyers in this region, it is one of the least probable prospects to be introduced here. With its 61.1-kWh battery pack, one may travel up to 525 kilometres.

The Marvel R was the most impressive MG electric SUV on display. An all-wheel-drive variant with a tri-motor arrangement that produces 288 hp and 665 Nm is available internationally. The Marvel R is capable of a range of 402 km and a top speed of 200 km/h (WLTP).

The Mifa 9, MG’s full-size electric MPV, is larger than the Kia Carnival. Under the SAIC automobile company, one of MG’s sibling companies in China sells it with a 90-kWh battery pack. The Mifa 9 comes in three different versions and boasts of a WLTP range of up to 595 kilometres.

A sporty automobile with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain is called the eMG6. It has cutting-edge driver-aid features and can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in six seconds. Another midsize electric SUV competitor in the manufacturer’s international line-up is the MG eRX5. It has an opulent interior and ADAS in a standout body.

The final display by MG was the Euniq 7, a fuel-cell electric vehicle based on hydrogen that is ready for mass production. It has a 6.4-kg hydrogen tank and makes use of MG’s PROME P390 third-generation fuel cell technology. This MPV has a range of 605 km and it can be refuelled in three minutes.

Tata Motors

Tata Motors showcased their electric prowess on the opening day of the Auto Expo. The company showcased its concept EV, Avinya, for the first time.

Along with the CNG versions of the Tata Punch and Tata Altroz, there was also the début of the Tata Harrier EV and Tata Sierra EV.

The Expo also featured the Tata Curvv ICE prototype. According to the company, the car will formally be launched in the market in 2024. The Curvv has “the ruggedness and durability of an SUV” and the svelte appearance of a coupé.

Tata Motors also gave us a sneak peek at their concept EV, the Avinya. This concept EV is built using the company’s Gen 3 EV architecture.

The Tata Harrier SUV’s electric variant was also unveiled at the Expo. The Harrier EV, which is anticipated to go on sale in 2025, will include a dual electric motor arrangement. For safety, it will include a 360-degree camera and ADAS (advanced driver assistance system). Once launched, this EV is expected to compete with models including the BYD Atto 3, MG ZS EV, and Mahindra XUV.E8.

Tata Motors unveiled the CNG versions of the Tata Punch and Altroz. The two-cylinder CNG vehicles will come in 1.2-litre and 1.5-litre diesel engine variations and use twin-cylinder technology. The cost of the CNG versions has not yet been disclosed by the company, though.

The Sierra EV, which was displayed at the Auto Expo in 2020, was arguably one of Tata Motors’ top crowd-pullers at this year’s exhibition and it also appears to be getting closer to being production-ready. The first Sierra serves as a major source of inspiration for the electric car. Like the Curvv, the Sierra EV will probably be available as both an ICE and an EV. The former will be available with Tata’s brand-new 1.5-litre, 170-hp, BS6 Phase 2-compliant turbo-petrol engine.

Lastly, the Tata Altroz Racer edition was also on display. The car has black alloy wheels and a roof that is all black. The ORVM are coated glossy black and there is a black hood at the front.

Toyota

Toyota were quite active, displaying a range of goods and cutting-edge technology. Due to the sheer number of products it has to offer, the Japanese automaker was one to look out for during the Expo. The auto industry behemoth is concentrating its efforts on electrification and alternative fuel vehicles, including hydrogen fuel-cell automobiles. There are also some unusual variations of common vehicles, such as the Corolla Cross H2 Concept, a hydrogen-powered concept car, and the Glanza Sporty Edition with a carbon-fibre body package and matching interior.

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The test vehicle was displayed at the Expo under the name “Cross H2 Concept”. A three-cylinder 1.6-litre turbo engine utilising compressed gaseous hydrogen as its fuel powers the crossover. In general, hydrogen cars have a water vapour exhaust that is unique to the conventional IC engine. There are two tanks on board to store gaseous hydrogen and the power is transferred to the front wheels. A six-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission is in charge of the transmission, which may result in manual gear-shifts without applying the clutch.

The Land Cruiser LC300 SUV made its début at the exhibition. It is equipped with a 3.3-litre V6 turbo diesel engine that has a maximum output of 305 hp and 700 Nm of torque. This enormous SUV has a fantastic 230-mm ground clearance, which will let it easily tackle any terrain. It also has a massive 110-litre petrol tank. This SUV is built on Toyota’s lightest and most manoeuvrable TNGA platform. It will cost approximately Rs 2.50 crore (ex-showroom).

A Sporty Edition of the Glanza luxury hatchback with red accents and a carbon-fibre body kit was displayed at the Expo to add some flair.

The company’s emphasis on sustainable and environment-friendly mobility solutions may be seen in all these offerings. The electrified products include fuel cell electric vehicles, flex-fuel hybrid vehicles, strong hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure hydrogen-powered electric vehicles.

 

About the author: Kurt Morris

 

 

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