The 61st edition of the Frankfurt motor show can easily be called the mother of all auto shows. Over 1,000 exhibitors from 44 countries are present this year at what is formally known as Internationale Automobil-Austellung. Everything, ranging from new cars to bits and pieces that go into them, are being showcased.
Citroen, part of the PSA group (which includes Peugeot) and the second largest French car manufacturer is all set to enter India.
Citroen officials confirmed that the dealer hunt is on saying, "We have already talked to a few dealers and we are very happy with the outcome, but we have not decided a particular date or model."
Citroen will make an entry via the completely built unit (CBU) route.
The manufacturer has a fine array of cars and the C6 (comparable to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class) will be a likely candidate. GMs world car Indian developments were unveiled from the Western rim of the Atlantic Ocean as well.
The Chevrolet Aveo, now wearing the much-abused world car tag line, is to be produced in 120 countries, with India on that list. The car looks set to replace the GM (Opel) Corsa early next year in India.
Talking to Business Standard, Chevrolet Europe chief, Hardy Spranger said that car holds tremendous potential not only in growing markets like India and China, but also in eastern Europe and developed markets like South Korea.
Fiat talks with Tata Motors on
Fiat Auto has confirmed that they are in talks with Tata Motors on a range of issues. A very senior Fiat Auto official, who didn't want to be named told Business Standard at the Frankfurt International Motor Show that senior level talks are on, dealing with sourcing, production and even technology transfer.
When asked if Fiat would seek help from Tata to get the Ranjangaon greenfield project up and running, the official said, "It is a distant possibility."
He added that Tata has shown tremendous interest in the 1.3 litre multijet diesel engine developed by Fiat. The engine is ideally suited for the second generation Tata Indica scheduled for 2007.
Incidentally, Suzuki is busy setting up a brand new engine plant to build the very same series of engines licence from Fiat.
Larger Maybach to come to India
At the other end of the scale, DaimlerChrysler India was focussing on the Maybach sedan. Sales have struggled, with the car tagged on the wrong side of Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million), and all of the first owners ran through troubled times.
This could change with the arrival of the Maybach 57S, which is longer and more powerful. The new car will be powered by 612 bhp 6000cc V12 engine, which has been massaged gently by Mercedes-Benz tuning arm, AMG. That's 62 extra bhp, which will help whisk the Maybach to 100 kph in five seconds flat. That should help.
200 bhp Octavia RS unveiled
With the Skoda Octavia RS already thrilling Indian owners, Skoda Auto dug deep into the Volkswagen parts bin and unveiled a 200 bhp RS version of the Octavia.
The new Octavia is scheduled for launch in India later this year, but it is not clear whether the new screamer will hit Indian shores in the next year or not.
Until then, Indian sports car enthusiasts will have to be content with the 150 bhp (last generation) RS which is currently on sale here.
The world's fastest growing automotive market, surprisingly, was not represented quite as frantically as the growth rates would suggest at Frankfurt.
Brilliance Auto was present though, along with Landwind, who showed off a SUV that looked rather like the Toyota Land Cruiser. Whose safari is it any way? Lada, the Soviet car manufacturer, still produces the near-classic Niva 4x4. At Frankfurt they unveiled a new version of the Niva, to be called the Safari II in Europe.
Lip smacking stuff!
Honda, ever innovative, gave way a unique press kits that explained the technology behind their new hybrid concept. The kit was the ultimate eco-friendly information docket - journalists could actually eat it! Talk about digesting information.