Zero Revenue, Zero Production a Huge Setback: Piaggio India CEO Diego Graffi

Zero Revenue, Zero Production a Huge Setback: Piaggio India CEO Diego Graffi

Zero Revenue, Zero Production a Huge Setback: Piaggio India CEO Diego Graffi

Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited feels that some level of plant operations will help absorb some of its fixed costs

The outbreak of COVID-19 has severely impacted businesses across the globe and even the country’s auto industry is not insulated from it. Pune-headquartered Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited (PVPL) - a 100 % subsidiary of Italy-based Piaggio Group - is looking to stay positive notwithstanding the negative sentiments all around. “We are worried and I’m sure every automotive player be it India as well as outside India will have similar sentiments. Obviously more than one-and-a-half months of zero production and zero revenue are a massive setback not just for us but also the auto industry as a whole,” says Diego Graffi, CEO & Managing Director, Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited.

The clouds of uncertainty are clearly hovering over the automotive landscape, but Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited is sanguine about resuming operations sooner than later. “We are hopeful about resuming operations with our dealers in coming weeks and hope for some degree of recovery in a time span of five-six months. Having said that the level of demand was not that great before the COVID-19-induced lockdown was imposed in the country. The Indian government has initiated some intelligent actions that helped the country handle the COVID-19 better as the virus growth has not been that steep like most other countries like Italy, Spain and USA. Of course, this gives us hope that there will be relaxations in place that will enable us to kickstart operations again,” stated Graffi.

The company is aware of the challenging market environment and is geared up for it. “Anything above zero revenue will be some kind of recovery for us. Shutting plants completely for a long period is a huge loss – we have more than 2,000 workers at our Baramati plant and keeping them idle is not a great thing anyway. At least, if we can resume production we would be able to absorb our fixed cost,” he said with a tinge of concern.

Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited is keen to turn the prevailing COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity by cranking up its presence in the e-commerce space. “Owing to COVID-19 touchless transportation will be a new normal and this is where we can play a key role in the e-commerce space,” Graffi noted.

The country’s automotive industry is doing its bit in the fight against COVID-19 and Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd has also undertaken multiple initiatives to offer support to the local administration in Maharastra. The company provided free supplies of ration kits to around 1,000 migrant labourers at Baramati and partnered with an NGO ‘New Vision’ and distributed ration kits to migrant construction workers in Pune as well. Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd is doing its bit for healthcare workers and in association with an NGO ‘United Way Mumbai’ provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits and installing sanitisation infrastructure at Pune’s Sassoon government hospital. “We stand with the government in these exceptionally difficult times to provide our relentless support. As a socially responsible organisation we will do the best we can – we are all together in this fight against coronavirus,” he noted.