The emergency situation that has been caused by the Corona Virus outbreak has resulted in almost all OEMs shutting down their production facilities, with industry bodies also requesting component manufactures to close factories
The global pandemic caused by the deadly Corona Virus, which is claiming more patients by the day is also spreading rather increasingly in India. Although the total number of infected patients and cases of death is relatively low when compared to other affected countries, it is still seen to be growing at a rapid pace. There have been severe government advisories discouraging people to gather in large numbers or interact with each other. A number of states have initiated lockdowns, leading to the closure of all businesses that are not considered essential.
With regards to the automotive industry specifically, a number of manufacturing plants closures have been announced by companies. These announcements have come from OEMs, without much information from the component suppliers. However, Rajan Wadhera, President, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) requested members of SIAM to close their facilities so as to limit the possible exposure of employees. Wadhera said, “With a view to the deteriorating situation arising out of COVID-19, SIAM and Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) have both requested their members in OEMs and auto component industry to consider plant shut down for a limited period to overcome the critical period so that workers are not exposed to the virus.”
Rockman Industries Ltd, the auto-components arm of Hero Group, was the only one to announce that it has suspended all operations across its seven facilities till 31 March 2020. Rockman has its manufacturing units in Ludhiana, Haridwar, Bawal, Chennai, Tirupati, and Halol. The company noted that all its employees, contractual and permanent, will be retained, especially with its employee strength of 7,200 people spread across operations.
The country’s top four-wheeler manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has halted operations at its Haryana facilities of Gurugram and Manesar, as well as its R&D centre at Rohtak. The facilities will be shut until further notice. Similarly, the second-largest OEM Hyundai Motor India Ltd has also suspended its manufacturing operations at the Sriperumbudur facility from today, till further notice to stop the spread of corona virus. Hyundai said it would continue to offer 24 hours roadside assistance in case of any emergency, extension of two months to customers who are not able to avail vehicle warranty/extended warranty/Free Service, and 1,000 doorstep advantage bikes/emergency road service cars to provide any assistance to customers
Other four-wheeler manufacturers that have temporarily halted production at their plants are Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s Bidadi plant, as well Honda Cars India plants in Greater Noida and Tapukara. Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd has suspended manufacturing operations at its Nagpur plant, while the Chakan (Pune) and Kandivali (Mumbai) facilities will be shut from Monday night onwards. Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt Ltd has said it will stop manufacturing operations at its plant at Oragadam, near Chennai from 24 March 2020, and Kia Motors India temporarily suspended operations at the Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh plant with immediate effect. Meanwhile, Tata Motors has decided to rapidly scale down activities at its Pune site to get to skeletal operations by end of today and be ready for plant closure by end of Tuesday 24 March 2020 if the situation warrants.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) joint venture with Fiat India Automobiles Pvt Ltd has announced it has stopped production till 31 March 2020, until further changes are declared by respective Governments. Honda Car India noted that its current intention is to restart production on 1 April 2020; however, this will be dependent upon advice from Government/ health authorities, and market and supply conditions.
In the two-wheeler segment, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, Hero Motocorp, Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt Ltd, Yamaha Motor India and TVS Motor Company have issues advisories on halting manufacturing. Honda two-wheelers has shut down operations across all its four manufacturing plants with immediate effect till further notice. Hero MotoCorp has decided to halt operations at all its global manufacturing facilities situated in India, Colombia and Bangladesh, as well as its Global Parts Centre (GPC) at Neemrana, Rajasthan, with immediate effect until March 31, 2020. Suzuki Motorcycle India has suspended its Kherki Dhaula, Haryana plant operations. The manufacturing plants of India Yamaha Motor in Chennai, Surajpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Faridabad have been closed till 31 March 2020. The operations at the Surajpur and Faridabad plants have been suspended from 23rd today, while operations at Chennai will cease from 24 March, 2020. Finally, TVS Motor Company has decided to halt all manufacturing operations at its plants in India and Indonesia until further notice.
All companies noted that staff working in R&D, as well as other administrative or back-end operations other than production, have been asked to work from home to enable business continuity to most of their ability. While the situation caused by this COVID-19 pandemic is worrisome, steps are being taken across all quarters to curtail further spread of the virus-propagated disease.