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Maruti Suzuki extends maintenance shutdown till May 16



Maruti Suzuki extends maintenance shutdown till May 16

The country’s largest car maker Saturday said it is extending the maintenance shutdown across its manufacturing facilities in the country by an additional week till May 16, 2021 given the rise in Covid-19 cases in the country.

The company had late last month advanced its annual maintenance shutdown to May 1-9, 2021 from June to make available oxygen for medical needs amid a rapid increase in active Covid-19 cases in the country.

Maruti Suzuki has two manufacturing facilities at Gurugram and Manesar in Haryana. Additionally, parent Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) has a manufacturing unit in Gujarat. Total installed capacity across the three facilities stand at 2.25 million.

“This is to inform you that the maintenance shutdown, which was till 9 May, 2021, is being extended till the 16 May, 2021, keeping in view the current pandemic situation. Some activities will continue in the plants”, the company said in a filing to the bourses. The statement added that Suzuki Motor Gujarat (SMG) too has taken the same decision and extended the shutdown at its manufacturing unit.

Maruti Suzuki while announcing its decision to advance its annual maintenance shutdown said while it is a small user of oxygen, it’s vendors require larger amounts and at this point of time when the country is battling a sharp rise in covid cases, all available oxygen should be utilised to save lives.

“As part of the car manufacturing process, Maruti Suzuki uses a small amount of oxygen in its factories while relatively much larger quantities are used by the manufacturers of components. In the current situation, we believe that all available oxygen should be used to save lives”, Maruti Suzuki has held.

Interestingly, the decision to extend the lockdown has come at a time when 22 state governments including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, West Bengal, Bihar have imposed or extended lockdowns to check the spread of the pandemic. The measures have compelled nearly 75% of auto retail stores in the country to shut shop. ET reported Saturday as per as interaction with auto dealers across the country retail is expected to decline 70-80% in May as either footfall has shrunk or state-government put restrictions on the movement.

During the earnings call end April, Maruti Suzuki Chairman R C Bhargava had said as far as demand is concerned, the company expects a “decent quarter (Q1FY22)”, but “going ahead a lot would depend on how the pandemic progresses, what restrictions are imposed by state governments”. Broadly, with the second wave, demand for personal transport will strengthen further, Bhargava had informed. The company has pending orders of over 200,000 units.

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