Maruti Suzuki India Ltd – country’s largest passenger vehicle manufacturer – will start manufacturing operations in its Manesar based plant from May 12, the company said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday. This move comes close on the heels of the union government allowing gradual resumption of economic activity, by relaxing lockdown measures, in certain parts of the country, identified as green and orange zones.
Car makers like Maruti had to close their factories from March 22, following the lock down announced by the union and state governments to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company though in the meantime was working with its suppliers to create standard operating procedures (SOPs) that need to be followed once manufacturing starts.
Along with Maruti, two-wheeler manufacturers, TVS Motor Company Ltd and Eicher Motor Ltd owned Royal Enfield, have also announced their decision to start manufacturing in their respective capacities. Other leading vehicle manufacturers, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, Hero MotoCorp Ltd, MG Motor India Ltd and Toyota Kirloskar Motor India Ltd have already announced their decision to resume production earlier this week.
“Maruti Suzuki India Limited would re-start production of vehicles at its Manesar plant from the May 12, 2020. All activities would be carried out strictly in accordance with government regulations and guidelines and observing the Company’s own concern for the highest standards of safety," said the company in a filing.
Mint, on April 29, first reported that more than a month after shutting their entire operations, India’s top two passenger vehicle makers, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Hyundai Motor India Ltd, are planning to start manufacturing operations in their respective factories from May.
Maruti Suzuki is expected to make just 45000 units in May and increase production to 65000 units in June. Hyundai, on the other hand, was planning to manufacture around 12000 to 13000 vehicles in May. Both companies internally decided on these projections.
The New Delhi based car maker has also put in place standard operating procedures for executives working at the company’s dealerships, to ensure safety of customers and sales staff. The company is gearing up to open its dealerships in certain parts of the country after getting approval from the local authorities.
Maruti’s prospective customers can now book and customize their cars through the company’s website and will be able to submit all documents through the digital platforms.
The dealerships will carry out complete sterilization of the test-drive vehicles before aligning it for the customers, ensuring maximum safety. One individual will be allowed to take the test drive with the relationship manager sitting in the back row, the company mentioned in a separate statement.
According to Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director, Maruti Suzuki India, all the dealerships have put in place steps to ensure complete safety, hygiene and sanitization of all touch points and the company would like to assure its customers that their car buying experience with Maruti will be completely safe.
“At the same time, not just our dealerships, but also our manufacturing facilities and service workshops are completely sanitized. They are following all safety protocols, as prescribed by the Government," added Ayukawa.
The company also mentioned that health of all employees is being monitored through a wellness app every day and employees who report good health for at least 14 consecutive days would be allowed to resume work. Maruti has conducted a detailed training of its dealerships staff across country towards maintaining a hygienic environment for customers.