AutoExpo set for high-profile unveilings

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Several carmakers have confirmed global debuts of production or concept models to be held at January's AutoExpo, which kicks off next week in India.

Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Maruti, Suzuki and Toyota are among the manufacturers slated to release vehicles at the show, which runs January 5-11 at the Pragati Maidan centre in New Delhi.

General Motors has confirmed that it will display the Chevrolet Beat, the brand's latest entry to the Indian market, alongside five other production and concept models at the show. Many, such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Optra Magnum and Captiva Extreme, have been specifically adapted for Indian roads.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally announced the Figo back in September, but it will go on public display for the first time at AutoExpo. Designed specifically for the Indian market and manufactured in Chennai, the Figo is a strong signal from Ford that it intends to aggressively compete in India's small car market. Approximately $500m has been invested in the production plant to enable production of 200,000 units annually.

"We're confident that the new Ford Figo will be extremely attractive to Indian car buyers," said Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India. "We believe Ford Figo is a big game-changer for Ford that will help transform our brand into a volume player in India."

Honda will unveil the New Small Concept, a compact vehicle designed for India and emerging nations, alongside the CR-Z Concept, a concept model for a new hybrid car. Apart from the new products, Honda will also display its current range of cars which includes City 1.5 V, New Civic, Accord V6 and New CR-V.

Maruti Suzuki
Maruti Suzuki will unveil the Concept R3, the Indian manufacturer's first compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) concept, which has been designed and built in India over the past nine months. Maruti has one of the largest stands at the show and is expected to unveil other highly-anticipated models, with 17 vehicles showcased in 4,690 square meters of space.

Toyota is readying its new compact vehicle for a world premiere at the AutoExpo. The entry level vehicle is currently codenamed EFC (Entry Family Car), and Toyota is reportedly aiming to produce 70,000 in the first year of production, thought to be commencing in late 2010. Thirteen other production and concept vehicles will also be on display from the manufacturer.

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