Maruti Suzuki India is the largest car maker in the country, and are hoping to start limited operations soon
After shutting down operations at its Gurgaon and Manesar plants for more than three weeks, India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki hopes to start operations from April 15. The company’s chairman RC Bhargava told CNBC TV18 that if the lockdown continues in its current form, it would be devastating for the company.
Mr Bhargava expects that some relaxations will be allowed post the 21-day lockdown period. The government will probably announce a range of industries that will be allowed to restart operations from April 15. PM Narendra Modi is all set to deliver his speech to the nation in a few minutes. Update – PM Modi has extended the lockdown till 3rd May 2020.
If restrictions are lifted for the auto sector, Maruti Suzuki will start limited operations. Mr Bhargava expects that lockdown will henceforth be enforced as per coronavirus hotspots and not as a blanket ban on all forms of economic activity. He said that areas in a city are likely to be tagged as colour-coded zones based on the number of infections detected in a given locality.
These zones will be Red, Orange or Green, with Red being the area where significant infections have been reported. On the other hand, Green zones will be marked as safe and will have limited restrictions. Mr Bhargava said that Maruti Suzuki plants in Gurgaon and Manesar are unlikely to be tagged in the Red zone. This will make it possible for the company to start limited operations from April 15.
Providing details about how the company has been handling the current challenges, Mr Bhargava said that not even a single employee has been laid off or not paid. He said that this is in line with government directives to support employees throughout the lockdown period. Mr Bhargava said that the company has also paid its vendors to ensure that the ecosystem can be sustained post the lockdown.
To ensure that its employees stay protected from coronavirus and to avoid contamination of its production facility, Maruti Suzuki will be carrying out extensive training of its employees. They will be provided detailed instructions about precautions to take before leaving their home, while travelling to office, while entering the factory premises, while working at the plant, while visiting the canteen, when exiting the plant and after reaching their home. Instructions will be provided in local languages so that each and every employee is aware of what’s expected from them.
Mr Bhargava said that operations will be started in a staggered manner in the next few weeks. He said that full production would not be possible in the next 1-2 months. Even the dealerships and suppliers will be looking at a similar timeline, in terms of achieving normal operations, like earlier.