Having received the green light from the authorities to resume operations at its plants last month, Maruti Suzuki has officially announced, in a regulatory filing, that it will commence production at its plant in Manesar, Haryana on May 12.
This is welcome news for India’s automotive sector, as Maruti Suzuki – the country’s largest carmaker – restarting operations will set the wheels in motion for the industry once again as it looks to exit the nationwide lockdown necessitated by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
While permission was granted to Maruti Suzuki towards the end of April, the company was only granted permission for a single shift and with a limited number of employees who could return to the plants. Only 3,704 personnel have been allowed to work in Gurgaon, and just 600 employees in Manesar, compared to the 4,696 employees Maruti Suzuki had originally requested permission for. For now, Maruti will only resume operations at the Manesar plant and all operations will be in compliance with the Ministry of Home Affairs’ latest guidelines on sanitisation and social distancing, the company said in a regulatory filing late Wednesday. Production at the Gurgaon facility is likely to restart in the coming weeks.
Maruti Suzuki's 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.
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.
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.