For the first time in its history, the Auto Expo – India’s leading automobile showcase event – has been postponed. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has decided to delay the 2022 edition of the biennial motor show, owing to the precarious situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and fears over a possible third wave of the virus gripping the country. The 2022 edition of the show was originally scheduled to occur in February in Greater Noida; the most recent edition was held in February 2020, just before the pandemic made its presence felt in the country.
“The magnitude of the risk of spread of infection is extremely high in a business-to-consumer (B2C) show like the Auto Expo, which is visited by large crowds, and maintaining social distancing would be difficult. Therefore, it has been decided to postpone the Auto Expo – The Motor Show for now,” SIAM Director General Rajesh Menon said in a statement.
SIAM said it recognizes the inherent risks in organizing the Auto Expo due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and possible third-wave apprehensions. At this point, there’s uncertainty around how COVID-19 would develop in the coming months, and at the same time, organizing Auto Expo would need a lead time of preferably a year.
SIAM has said the exact date for the next edition of the Auto Expo would be finalized later this year in line with the COVID-19 situation and ensuring it doesn’t clash with any event on the OICA Calendar of global auto shows. If SIAM can find a new slot for the Auto Expo on the OICA Calendar in 2022, it will only likely be sometime in the second half of next year.
The Auto Expo 2020 saw total footfalls of over six lakh visitors and had witnessed around 70 product launches and unveils. Interestingly, SIAM had nearly agreed to delay the 2020 edition by a year before deciding against it. A pronounced slowdown in the Indian automotive industry meant several big names – including Honda, Ford, BMW, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and more – had chosen to skip the 2020 event as the cost of participation continued to be high. Most players were in the midst of redoing their product lines ahead of the BS6 emission norms coming into effect.