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Auto show set for big launch today — Rs 440-cr business deals likely to be accomplished

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TOP RIDE: Mr Y. C. Deveshwar, President, CII, flanked by Mr Madhur Bajaj, President, SIAM, and Mr N. Srinivasan, Director-General, CII, at the 8th Auto Expo 2006 press conference in the Capital on Wednesday. - Ramesh Sharma

New Delhi , Jan. 11

THE Eighth Auto Expo, which kicks off tomorrow, promises much excitement for auto buffs in the form of new launches and big announcements by domestic and global automobile giants.

The event, jointly organised by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers Auto Component Manufacturers' Association and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), will be inaugurated by the Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Kamal Nath, and the Heavy Industries Minister, Mr Santosh Mohan Deb.

"This is the biggest-ever auto show held in India and amply demonstrates the country's growing stature in the automobile industry,'' the SIAM President, Mr Madhur Bajaj, said while commenting on the six-day long expo.

The expo is expected to see business deals nearly double to cross the $100-million (about Rs 440 crore) mark this time.

"The response is enormous and we expect that business deals, valued around $55 million in the 2004 edition, will cross $100 million (this year),'' a senior CII official said.

Meanwhile, auto component manufacturers, who will occupy as much as 60 per cent of the total 70,000 sq m space, have seen rise in participation by a big 40-50 per cent.

Overall more than 1,000 participants, which include 300 from 22 countries, will be sharing space at the expo. The foreign participants include country-level participation from China, Germany, Italy, Taiwan and the UK.

China is also making its presence felt with as many as 60 companies setting up stalls. A total of 24 vehicle manufacturers will also display their products, including futuristic cars. These include domestic biggies such as Tata Motors, Maruti, Ashok Leyland and Mahindra and Mahindra rubbing shoulders with global giants such as the Volkswagen group, Honda and Ford.

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