India tells Chinese guests to stay away from car show

February 5, 2020 by No Comments


Car and model at annual India motor showImage copyright
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Image caption

A model displays a car at the annual Indian Auto Expo

Chinese attendees are not welcome at India’s Auto Expo next week due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Chinese guests are prevented from attending the show because of “government policy” an Indian Society of Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) spokeswoman said.

Yet Chinese cars will be on display.

Other events across Asia will be missing the large delegations that usually come from Chinese firms because of travel restrictions.

Changing car markets

India and China have much at stake in spurring domestic car sales as well as exports, making such industry events vital to drum up business.

New Indian car sales fell 16% last year and China, the world’s largest car market, saw an 8% dip as both markets saw increased turnover in used cars. However there is interest in newer models in the electric vehicle segment, according to Chinese market consultancy LMC Automotive and SIAM figures.

India’s Tata Motors, owner of the Land Rover and Jaguar brands, has developed electric car models for sale at home and abroad, while China’s SAIC Motor and Great Wall Motor also offer electric vehicles for the domestic and export markets. That makes auto shows like the one in India next week important venues to showcase the newest models.

Ripple effect

With hotels and conference fees paid in advance and lunch and dinner meetings arranged months earlier, missing a big industry show has a major ripple effect on economic activity. Events like the Auto Expo in suburban New Delhi, or the Singapore air show due to take place next week draw thousands of out-of-town guests.

In China, the conference circuit has come to a standstill with over 20,000 infections and more than 420 people dead as the virus spreads from the epicentre of the city of Wuhan.

In the case of the Singapore Airshow organisers have faced cancellations by vendors from China, including aircraft maker Comac, and reduced attendance by companies from elsewhere in the world concerned about the spread of the virus outside of China. Singapore has reported 24 cases. India to date has seen three coronavirus cases.

To mitigate the impact, both events have highlighted plans to screen throngs of guests for fever and ensure thorough sanitation measures as well as access to medical care to ensure they can carry on even at reduced attendance.