Tyres on the second floor : The Shanty Chaddha Diaries.
Don’t try to follow trends. Create them.”
― Simon Zingerman, We All Need Heroes: Stories of the Brave and Foolish
The 13th edition of Auto Expo India that took place in Noida was promoted & advertised as the biggest & it wasn’t just the biggest, it was the best yet.
With almost any & every auto maker present at the expo it was a treat for those who wanted to get their pictures clicked next to the dream machines.
Who says you can’t get clicked next to an expensive ride like a Mercedes AMG, a Chevrolet Camaro or a BMW z4 to post it on your Facebook with the caption that reads-My next car?
Of course, there were some affordable machines too with companies like Maruti, Honda, Hyundai, Renault, Mahindra, Tata, Ford & Chevrolet & Datsun showcasing the more affordable vehicles. It was a show of epic proportions & a show that ascertains our country’s position in the global market, giving the world a peek to the path we are setting up for ourselves. It is indeed the biggest & baddest expo we have ever seen in the country.
We entered the exhibition from hall no. 7 & the moment we entered, we were greeted to the stalls of Maruti. Yeah if you want to call it a stall. THIS IS *BEEP* HUGE! Was my first reaction. Bigger than the entire TyreExpo exhibition hall was that one Maruti stall… PHEW!! They had on display the new BREZZA. A beautiful machine that looked like it stole some of the ideas from Mini Cooper and just made it a little bigger on scale… a beautiful machine indeed.
As we moved on from stall to stall I was just amazed at the size and scale of each and every one of the companies exhibiting. It was like a display of strength and power. They were all trying to show their might and compete with each other. The difference was that, they were not competing for a market share per se, rather they were competing for eyeballs and appreciation which…. made me a little sad about the state of our tyre industry but, we’ll come to that in a minute. To give you an example Honda had brought with them their robot ASIMO to show their prominence in the field of technology & innovation. OH MY GOD… Who here is not a fan of ASIMO… That was amazing to watch ASIMO play football and do the things it does… quickly coming back to the topic.
Where Mahindra had a pimped up Thar on display and, had a bidding war going for it, Jeep had its Cherokee which strangely was looking as if it were an M&M XUV 500 on mild steroids. Keeping with the flow of happenings all around the expo, every automaker had an activity going on to give the consumer an unforgettable experience. From the anchors displaying products to special gaming corners for the F1 drivers in you.
It was a feast for the public and the public was minting it to fullest. The sheer number of people present at the expo was enough to convince anyone of its scale and popularity.
With companies such as BMW, Triumph, Moto Guzzi & Benneli displaying their motorcycle range it was a dream for the suppressed biker hiding in each and every one of our hearts-Surprisingly the Indian bike manufacturers had managed to give a bang for the buck too with the Mahindra & Hero bikes looking every bit the showstoppers .
The cuteness and nostalgia combined Honda NAVI – a new age Bobby Rajdoot, was a showstopper in its own right. Some of the sports cars & some concept cars displayed by the likes of Suzuki, Chevrolet, Mahindra and Honda among others gave a look into the future of the Indian & Global market of cars.
Mad… Mad Machines and madder crowds definitely made this show a huge success no doubt about that…
But, being a guy who relates to tyres, my eyes & my heart was searching for the stalls of my beloved JK, Yokohama, MRF & Goodyear who, I knew were present at the expo. Now guys, please be patient as it was my first time attending the auto expo and I was coming here after attending the Auto components expo in Pragati Maidan where, I’d met TVS tyres & Ralson Tyres who were both looking like bright shining stars – they had taken up prominent space in a huge quantity and could not be missed in that crowd. THEY WERE ON THE GROUND FLOOR, where 90 % of the public was.
TVS was present in full force as a company & TVS tyres as a part of that setup, Ralson, looked like one of the top tyre companies in India displaying its full range and busy making things happen. Obviously, with the kind of space, display and prominence I’d witnessed from these two at the components expo at Pragati Maidan, you can’t blame me for having high hopes from the likes of JK Tyre, Yokohama, Goodyear and MRF at the Noida Auto Expo.
*A moment of silence please*
I do not mean to undermine the efforts, time, money and many sleepless nights spent by the people behind the participation at the Noida Auto Expo from these companies.
My request for a moment of silence is, in fact to appreciate the hard work that was put into doing what these guys did & the fact that their hard work was however – relegated to the second floor of the expo.
I get it now Harry Potter. I get how you must have felt living in a dark, stale cupboard under the stairs.
To see these behemoths of the tyre industry get relegated to the fringes of the expo was truly heartbreaking. In comparison, look at the players like TVS tyres & Ralson tyres who stood out like the leaders of the industry in their own sea of opportunities at the Pragati Maidan Auto component show. Is it a wise choice to be a crocodile in your own river where you are at the top of the food chain or is it wiser to try and swim in a vast sea where, you will get lost in the territories of whales & sharks of the industry – looking for tyre companies at the Noida auto expo was like searching for a horcrux, with a great bit of difficulty and a lot of search & find involved.
One argument that might rationalize this is that the Noida Auto expo provides the tyre companies to have a direct connect with the end consumer. Really? What are the chances of your direct connect with the customers when 90% of those visiting don’t even make it to the second floor? The other argument that comes from some of the companies is that they are concentrating at the O.E opportunities with the automobile companies and this show gives them a platform to showcase just that. Fair enough we say. We will not even question the motives here. That is for them to analyze.
I just speak of what I see & what I see is a young Harry unaware of his powers & potentials mistaking that cupboard under the stairs as his world while outside the world waits for him to come out of the shadows & fulfill his true potential. The question however, is…. Will he stay in the muggle world staring at the ceiling of the cupboard and dreaming of a great future or will he take a chance to walk through that railway station pillar to catch a train to greatness from platform no. 9 ¾?
Pardon me for the unrelated examples from Harry Potter series! Or are they really unrelated? Just take a look at the players like Linglong Shandong & BKT. These guys do not miss any opportunity to display their full strength at the Tyre Expos around the world but, are mostly absent from auto shows in India. So what is it that stops these other big market players from coming in & showing their strength & might in the shows specifically meant for Tyres? Why can’t they use this platform, which is tailor made for them to do new launches & pre- launches? Why can’t we have the Apollo, MRF, JK & CEAT come together on this platform and show the world what they are all about? To put it more bluntly the No.1 tyre company in India can’t even find a place on the ground floor of the Noida Auto expo.
Have they missed out on something? Or are they just not bothered about it? With the entire world looking at India as a preferred destination for businesses & displaying their attributes and might to the nation what is it that holds these homegrown players back?
You might think that I am lobbying for a certain kind of show, maybe. But, in my mind I am only lobbying for the Industry that I work in & have grown to love.
Shanty Chaddha Tyrewala.