MUMBAI: Fiat India Automobiles Pvt Ltd (FIAPL) has suspended operations at its Ranjangaon, near Pune, manufacturing facility, which comes under the company's joint venture with Tata Motors Ltd, till 31 March, the former said in a statement on Sunday.
Sister company FCA India Automobiles Pvt Ltd, which includes the Mumbai corporate office, Chennai-based engineering center and an engineering office in Pune have allowed work-from-home to its employees.
“The temporary suspension, which will be in effect until 31 March 2020, is in response to the increasing prevalence of positive Covid-19 cases in the state of Maharashtra and particularly in Pune," the company said in the statement.
According to the Union health ministry, India's has so far reported 315 cases of the disease, Maharashtra accounting for the most at 63. The country was observing Janata Curfew on Sunday, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal, amid 100 cases being reported in the past 48 hours.
“During the closure period, the Ranjangaon plant will undertake intensified cleaning and sanitization, including total fumigation to ensure a safe return for employees," the company said, adding that it has implemented necessary steps such as ensuring minimal social distancing and thermal screening for employee safety.
FIAPL said while it will continue to be staffed with smaller number of employees engaged in emergency services, and that there will be no retrenchment at any unit as a result of the closure. “All will continue to receive their salaries during this closure period," the note said.
Other automakers such as Tata Motors Ltd and Hero MotoCorp Ltd have already announced suspension of operations at their respective manufacturing plants as preventive measure to contain the spread of the outbreak.
The Indian automobile industry is undergoing its worst slump in decades as a slowing economy, government’s focus on electric vehicles and clean energy and troubles in the lending sector create uncertainties, forcing the buyers to defer their purchase decisions.