India’s largest carmaker resumes operations


FILE PHOTO: Newly finished cars stand next to solar panels at a solar power plant built on the site of Indian vehicle manufacturer Maruti Suzuki at Manesar on the outskirts of New Delhi (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Newly finished cars stand next to solar panels at a solar power plant built on the site of Indian vehicle manufacturer Maruti Suzuki at Manesar on the outskirts of New Delhi (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

INDIA’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) resumed operations at its Manesar plant in Haryana on Tuesday (12) after around 40 days of closure due to the coronavirus-led lockdown.          Operations at both Manesar and Gurugram facilities were suspended since March 22.

“Production has commenced at the Manesar plant and the first car would roll out today (Tuesday),” Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Chairman R C Bhargava said.

The facility has commenced operations on a single shift basis with up to 75 per cent employees allowed currently, he added.  The company said that full-swing operations would depend on government regulations.

On restarting manufacturing activities at Gurugram facility, he said “it will start, but not yet”.

On April 22, the Haryana government had granted permission to the auto major to restart its Manesar manufacturing facility, but the company had said it will resume operations only when it can maintain continuous production and sell vehicles.

The Gurugram district administration had allowed the auto major to run the facility on a single shift basis, while fixing the total number of employees at the plant at 4,696.

MSI’s Manesar plant is outside the limits of Gurugram municipal corporation, while its Gurugram plant falls within the city limits.     The two plants in Haryana have an installed capacity to roll out 15.5 lakh units per annum.

When asked how the lockdown would impact industry sales this fiscal, Bhargava said that in current circumstances it was too early to forecast.

“I have always held that cars are too heavily taxed in India by both the central government as well as by the state governments. The result is that carmakers in India pay much higher taxes than in most other developed parts of world,” he noted.