The Frankfurt Motor Show (on till 25 September) is always a time when European manufacturers get into high gear and display some major muscle flexing. Given the global slowdown in automobile sales, it is important for people to see a vibrant and exciting industry with promising products lined up for global buyers. And that is exactly what we have got.

Since it’s their home show, it is fitting to tell you what has impressed me the most from the Germans. Audi has pulled off quite a coup by constructing its own pavilion in the heart of the fair grounds. They are calling it the Agora, and this stand is not just about cars on display, but also has a dynamic track integrated into it for visitors to take rides in the latest Audis. Quite something, indeed! Audi’s board has set a target of selling 7,500 cars in India in 2012 that will come on the back of the Q3 compact SUV which arrives by the end of this fiscal year.

From (Left to Right): Ferrari 458 Spider, Porsche 911, Volkswagen UP

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Porsche’s big show-stopper is the new 7th generation of the revered 911. The car has grown, not just in generation terms, but also in size, and so the purists may not find this new, almost-stretched, 911 very appealing. Of course, I still cannot wait to drive this car. It will likely make its way to India by mid-2012. To wrap up the Germans, I want to quickly mention that BMW is showing off its new sub-brand, with the i8 hybrid sports car and the i3 fully electric city car, which are environmentally friendly future cars. And then there’s one of the other beauties at the show—the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster—which is a topless version of the regular SLS. Also topless is the gorgeous world debut from Scuderia Ferrari, the very sexy new 458 Spider. Major drool value and performance in the same league as its hard-top coupe version.

Land Rover Defender Concept

In fact, JLR is fast becoming one of the most aggressive players in the premium market. I was fortunate enough to be in the UK this week when the company announced its intention to invest about £350 million (around 2,646 crore) in a new engines plant. This plant will manufacture four-cylinder diesel and petrol engines, and will be operational by 2015. This is a significant step for JLR—which until now has had to rely on the likes of Ford and Peugeot for its engines.

What moves like this—and indeed the Frankfurt Motor Show—have shown the world is that despite the blips in sales the past few months, and also the continuing uncertainty in the global economic climate, it’s still the right place to be, the right time to invest, and the right opportunity to be cashed-in on, in emerging markets.

Siddharth Vinayak Patankar is Editor (Auto), NDTV.

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