Limited Period Offer:Be a PRO for 1 month @Rs49/-Multiple payment options available. Know More

Maruti Suzuki looking to cut shifts at its Gurugram and Manesar plants for COVID protocols

The automobile industry, including market leader Maruti Suzuki, is following safety protocols, but there are concerns that sales would fall if restrictions imposed to control the alarming rise in the number of COVID-19 cases are prolonged

April 22, 2021 / 08:23 PM IST
Maruti Suzuki | Production at 3,714 vehicles in May 2020 against 1,51,188 vehicles in May 2019. (Image: WIkimedia)

Maruti Suzuki | Production at 3,714 vehicles in May 2020 against 1,51,188 vehicles in May 2019. (Image: WIkimedia)

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd is considering fewer shifts at its Gurugram and Manesar plants because of COVID-19 protocols, amid growing concerns that demand may fall if states persist with stringent restrictions to control the pandemic, company sources said.

Two sources told Moneycontrol that India’s largest auto maker had let go of some contracted staff. An official said that while the number of shifts needs to be reduced because of COVID-19 protocols, the company would be able to meet demand.

The company did not respond to emailed queries from Moneycontrol as it is in a silent period ahead of quarterly earnings,

Restrictions imposed by several states to control the pandemic, which scaled a new record of 3.14 lakh fresh cases on April 22, have forced many dealers to shut down, which can hit demand for its vehicles.

This week, Maruti Suzuki’s Chairman RC Bhargava had said demand would fall if there is a “prolonged shutdown”. Factories cannot run if dealerships are shut, he said.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more

Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant manufactures models such as the Alto, Swift and Dzire, with an annual production capacity of 8,80,000 units. The Gurugram plant has a capacity of 7,00,000 units and manufactures models such as the Wagon R, Ertiga and Vitara Brezza.

Workers are concerned about the situation. “Many workers are asking to go back to their villages because they do not want to get stuck without any work again like last year,” another source from the company’s worker’s union said.

Maruti Suzuki’s Executive Director Shashank Srivastava had said that retails were hit in the states under lockdown currently but added that bookings could be done digitally.

“However, if the current restrictions/lockdowns go beyond the end of this month then the customer sentiments could be affected which in turn will have an adverse impact on the market,” Srivastava said earlier this week.

Several states including Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh which account for about 30 percent of the passenger vehicle sales, have imposed several restrictions.

Hero MotoCorp Ltd has temporarily shut down operations at all its plant between April 22 and May 1. The pandemic has also impacted Tata Motors Ltd.

Last year, sales stopped and automobile plants were shut because of the prolonged lockdown. By October 2020, Maruti Suzuki ramped up capacity utilization at its plants to pre-pandemic levels.

In 2020-21, Maruti Suzuki reported a nearly 7% lower sales to its wholesales partners, mainly due to zero sales during the nationwide lockdown.

Observers say that Jan-Mar sales results of 2020-21 (Apr-Mar) will be better than expected, but the second wave may hit the industry.
Yaruqhullah Khan
first published: Apr 22, 2021 08:23 pm

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser