Two days after Maruti Suzuki India chairman RC Bhargava told media personnel that the company would resume production on May 18, the carmaker confirmed the same in a regulatory filing today. " All activities would be carried out strictly in accordance with the Government regulations and guidelines and observing the company's own concern for the highest standards of safety," added the statement.
Maruti Suzuki has a combined production capacity of 1.58 million units in Gurgaon and Manesar and another half-a-million units at its two operational lines at Gujarat which rolls out models such as the Dzire, Swift, and Baleno.
The Manesar plant restarted production last week, on May 12. While the Manesar plant manufactures models such as the Alto, Swift and Dzire, and has an annual production capacity of 880,000 units, the Gurgaon facility has a production capacity of 700,000 units per annum and manufactures models such as the Wagon R, Ertiga and Vitara Brezza. Production at both plants was halted on March 22 after the lockdown was imposed.
Dealerships re-opening too
Along with this, Maruti Suzuki has also been able to reopen some of its dealerships in areas that have seen lockdown norms relaxed. As per a PTI report, around 600 dealerships out of the 3,086 outlets Maruti Suzuki has all over India – including 474 Arena outlets, 80 Nexa showrooms and 45 commercial vehicle outlets – are open once again in zones classified 'green' or 'orange' during the lockdown. Dealers have even started home delivery of new cars.
According to RC Bhargava, “One-third of our dealers have opened for work with 60 percent of them being in rural areas. All of roughly 2,000 dealers are also set to gradually resume operations in the coming weeks. Dealers are working for either 4, 5 or 6 days at the maximum,” he said.
At this moment, the company is seeing most of its new-car enquiries come through the digital channel and claims having received 5,000 bookings so far, with around 2,300 cars being delivered. “The market, of course, is very uncertain at this moment and nobody knows how it is going to behave,” said Bhargava. He also said that while nearly 1,900 workshops are also functioning, the initial service load is very low and expects that this function will also pick up momentum gradually.
To ensure the safety of its customers and staff, Maruti Suzuki has issued guidelines for its dealerships to follow. The guidelines include regular sterilisation of customer touchpoints and demo and test drive vehicles, thermal screening of visitors and even tracking the health of staff via a smartphone application. And apart from booking and accessorising a new car online, customers can also complete the documentation process for a purchase digitally, and have their car delivered to their doorstep after it has been sterilised.