Cyclone Michaung prompts auto brands to extend lifelines to affected customers

Major automotive brands are reaching out to customers affected by the storm ravaging the east coast of India, offering special initiatives, including extended warranties and personalised assistance packages, as well as roadside support.

By Manobhava Baruah calendar 08 Dec 2023 Views icon2406 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Image credits: X (formerly Twitter)

Image credits: X (formerly Twitter)

In the aftermath of Severe Cyclonic Storm Michaung, which made landfall near Bapatla in Andhra Pradesh on December 5, automotive giants in India are stepping up to support their customers facing the aftermath of the natural disaster.

Amidst the recovery efforts, Mahindra & Mahindra has launched a special initiative to assist owners of Mahindra SUVs affected by Cyclone Michaung. The support package includes complimentary roadside assistance within 50 kilometres, enabling towing to the nearest Mahindra authorised workshop. Additionally, affected customers will benefit from a no-cost inspection and damage assessment, along with financial relief through special discounts on the repair invoice's customer liability component. This initiative remains valid until December 31, 2023, providing affected customers with ample time to avail these services. Mahindra also emphasises safety advice for submerged SUVs, urging owners not to start their vehicles to prevent further damage.

Similarly, Tata Motors has implemented a comprehensive service plan to aid customers impacted by Cyclone Michaung in Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh. The plan includes an extension of warranty and service periods, covering contracts expiring between December 1, 2023 and December 15, 2023, with validity extended until December 31, 2023. Tata Motors has established a dedicated emergency road assistance team, activated a 24 X 7 helpdesk reachable at 1800-209-8282, and offers free towing assistance to the nearest dealership. The support initiatives will remain available until the end of the year.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has also implemented special support measures for its affected customers in cyclone-impacted areas of Chennai and Andhra Pradesh. TKM, in collaboration with its dealer partners, has set up special emergency helpline numbers and designated personnel to provide immediate assistance to customers. Additionally, Toyota Tsusho Insurance Broker India (TTIBI) is actively communicating essential information to customers regarding precautions and guidelines for vehicle handling during flood situations. TKM's dealer outlets are facilitating vehicle pickup and drop services at customers' doorsteps using specially equipped Hilux vehicles for rescue and movement of submerged cars to Toyota dealer outlets for repair and servicing.

Takashi Takamiya, Vice President of Strategic Business Unit (South Zone) at Toyota Kirloskar Motor, expressed the company's commitment to the safety and well-being of customers and their families. TKM reassures affected communities that they stand in solidarity, actively providing support in these challenging times. The company remains vigilant, monitoring the situation closely and adapting necessary initiatives to prioritise the safety of customers and the community.

Volkswagen Passenger Cars India is offering extended service support to flood-affected customers in Chennai. Embracing a 'Customer-First' approach, Volkswagen India is prioritising assistance to stranded customers by providing complimentary Roadside Assistance.

Furthermore, Volkswagen India will conduct a priority comprehensive service check for vehicles to ensure the timely repair of flood-related damages. The company has issued standardised repair guidelines across its dealerships and will ensure sufficient manpower and spare parts availability for a swift service experience.

Skoda Auto India has announced support measures for affected customers. The company is offering free Road Side Assistance (RSA) pickup support, extending the assistance even to customers who do not have RSA.

The entire service network of Skoda Auto in the region has been activated and is on high alert to handle the expected influx of vehicles. The network is prepared to provide priority service to customers affected by the cyclone. The company has disseminated standardised repair guidelines across its dealerships, ensuring consistency and efficiency in addressing vehicle-related issues. Additionally, the company has deployed sufficient manpower and spare parts to meet the service demands.

Customers facing issues with their vehicles due to the cyclone can reach out to Škoda Roadside Assistance by calling 1800 209 4646 or 1800 102 6464 for prompt assistance. The free RSA support will remain active until December 31, 2023.

MG Motor is also taking steps to assist its affected customers. The carmaker has announced a one-month extension on various support services for customers whose Roadside Assistance (RSA), Annual Maintenance Contracts (AMC), warranty, and extended warranties are set to expire between December 1 and December 31, 2023. This extension aims to provide relief and peace of mind to customers dealing with vehicle damage caused by the cyclone.

To ensure continuous support, MG has established a dedicated 24/7 helpline reachable at 1800 100 6464, facilitating seamless communication with customers in need. The company, recognising the urgency of the situation, has deployed a Quick Response Team in Chennai, equipped to address a range of customer needs promptly.

To streamline customer outreach and support, MG Motor India is conducting home visits with its service team. Company-trained technicians will assess the condition of vehicles on-site and coordinate the towing of affected cars to the nearest workshop. Dedicated trucks have been deployed to ensure a swift and efficient towing process

Renault India, in collaboration with other OEMs, is actively supporting customers in flood-affected areas of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The company has swiftly implemented initiatives such as SMS alerts and app notifications for precautionary measures. Renault is offering free roadside assistance and will reimburse towing costs. To prioritise vehicle recovery, 15 additional towing trucks have been deployed. The 24x7 helpline team has been reinforced for efficient assistance. Measures include extended workshop hours, parts inventory arrangements, and collaboration with insurance companies for faster claims. Renault is committed to providing round-the-clock support in Tamil Nadu.

India Yamaha Motor (IYM) has also extended a special support initiative to its customers in the cyclone affected Chennai and nearby areas including Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu and Kanchipuram. The company will offer free roadside assistance and check-up along with flushing of the flood affected vehicle to its customers. Starting from December 08, 2023, the special service campaign will continue till the end of the month. Among other initiatives, the brand will offer 100 percent lube support in case of engine overhauling and ensure delivery of parts within 24 hours of the order.

All Yamaha customers, with affected vehicles, can seek free roadside assistance by calling on the helpline number – 1800 3093 968 (Global Assure).

Michaung originated as a low-pressure area in the Gulf of Thailand, later intensifying into a cyclonic storm as it crossed into the Bay of Bengal. The storm brought sustained winds of up to 110 kilometres per hour and heavy rainfall to Northeastern Tamil Nadu and Southeastern Andhra Pradesh.

As per latest media reports, the calamity claimed the lives of at least 17 individuals, prompting the evacuation and temporary relocation of over 41,000 people, with 32,158 in Tamil Nadu and 9,500 in Andhra Pradesh. To prevent potential electrocution hazards, the government took precautionary measures, including the deliberate shutdown of power supply in flooded areas of Chennai.

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