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Hybrid vehicles steal the show at Auto Expo — Exports may touch $25 billion in next decade: Kamal Nath

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IN THE FAST LANE: The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Mr Kamal Nath, at the inauguration of 8th Auto Expo 2006 at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi on Thursday. - Rajeev Bhatt

New Delhi , Jan.12

BIG-ticket investment announcements and a bevy of foreign vehicles on display remained the highlights of the Eighth Auto Expo, in the absence of any new significant passenger car launches.

However, the principle attraction was the showcase of vehicles utilising hybrid/alternative fuel technology. While Mahindra & Mahindra showcased a concept hybrid variant of the `Scorpio' and the hydrogen engine `Alpha' three-wheeler, Honda put on display the hybrid Insight and fuel cell vehicle FCX. In addition, Sonalika Group company, ICML, put its battery operated three-wheelers on display.

Investments: On the investment front, Maruti led the way with an investment announcement of Rs 2,718 crore, while Yamaha followed suit with Rs 300 crore. Bosch Group said it would be pumping in upwards of Rs 1,000 crore over the next three years.

The Commerce Minister, Mr Kamal Nath, in his inaugural address on Thursday asked the auto industry to gear up for globalisation and increased competition, with the country entering into more trade agreements.

He said as the economy enters into "bilateral and regional trade pacts, even as multilateral negotiations are going on, the auto sector must find ways to make use of these agreements to leverage its strengths for expanding in other parts of the world.

Globalisation and integration are no longer mere buzzwords but a reality. India is among the fastest growing automobile market and Indian companies are now making their presence felt in other countries as well".

He added that auto exports from India could reach $25 billion in the next decade.

Component sector growing: Speaking on the occasion Mr Ashok Taneja, Vice-President, Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), said, "The auto component sector has been growing at over 20 per cent for the last five years. Total revenues are likely to cross $10 billion with exports of $2 billion this year.''

In 10 years, the revenues from the auto components sector will jump to $40 billion including exports of $20 billion, he said.

As many as 1,000 exhibitors, including 300 from 20 countries, are participating at the Auto Expo, jointly organised by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the Auto Component Manufacturers Association and CII.

The six-day exhibition is spread over an area of 70,000 sq metres.

The Expo, which provides a major opportunity for Indian automobile and component industry to showcase their prowess, is expected to see business deals nearly double to cross the $100 million (about Rs 440 crore) mark this time.

Related Stories:
Auto Expo to have more overseas participation
Automobile production may cross 10 m in 2 years
Auto show set for big launch today — Rs 440-cr business deals likely to be accomplished

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