In what comes as disturbing, yet, expected news, Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest carmaker reported that it had sold no cars in the country in April 2020. The lockdown initiated by the government as a measure to control the spread of COVID-19 has meant that production facilities have been shut throughout the month, as have dealerships. For the first time in history, the Indian automaker has not sold a single vehicle in the domestic market nor did it manufacture any vehicles for the entire month.
“Maruti Suzuki India Limited had zero sales in the domestic market, (including sales to OEM), in April 2020. This was because in compliance with the Government orders all production facilities were closed,” India’s largest carmaker said in a statement. Maruti, however, exported 632 units from Mundra port in Gujarat following the resumption of port operations. The company said the units were dispatched ensuring all safety guidelines.
The auto industry, given the nature of its business, has been one of the most heavily affected. But the first steps are being taken to return to some level of normalcy The auto major had last month got permission from the Gurugram district administration to restart its Manesar plant on a single shift basis while fixing the total number of employees at the plant at 4,696.
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What Happens Next?
The company had then decided to resume operations only when it can maintain continuous production and sell vehicles. Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai plan on partially resuming production by May 2020. Further, the government is looking to lift the lockdown in a graded manner from May 3, with the designated Green Zones opening for business once again. This should mean that May will see more sales numbers. By following the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Maruti Suzuki will be allowed to manufacture 50 vehicles a day while operating with a limited workforce.
Other automakers are also expected to register the same for the time period with no manufacturing or sales taking place during the month. All auto manufacturers in India were forced to halt their production and sales temporarily due to the lockdown. Although many of them have come up with online sales platforms to circumvent the distancing measures, we expect these portals to still account for a limited portion of sales. Vehicles booked through these platforms can be delivered only when the lockdown is lifted.