Automakers in India temporarily close factories as country battles Covid-19 pandemic

23, Mar. 2020

NEW DELHI, NNA - Automakers in India, the world’s fourth largest automobile market, have suspended production to avoid workplace infections while the densely populated country fights Covid-19.

Most of the automakers, including local subsidiaries of Japanese automakers such as Suzuki Motor Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., said they would suspend indefinitely vehicle production at their plants across India.

Decisions to suspend work came after the country decided Sunday to put several cities under lockdown and suspend public transport until March 31. India falls in line with much of the world in stopping human contact, at an economic price, to control the deadly disease spread. Indians also observed a 14-hour nationwide curfew Sunday as confirmed coronavirus cases grew to 391.

City streets stand empty in Mumbai on March 22, 2020, during India's nationwide curfew in India to avoid the deadly coronavirus outbreak. (PTI)
City streets stand empty in Mumbai on March 22, 2020, during India's nationwide curfew in India to avoid the deadly coronavirus outbreak. (PTI)

Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd., the two-wheeler subsidiary of Suzuki Motor said it had suspended production at a plant in the city of Gurugram until further notice. Suzuki Motor’s domestic unit Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. said in a statement Sunday it would stop production and office work in Gurugram and the town of Manesar until further notice. Maruti Suzuki is India’s largest passenger vehicle maker.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of Toyota Motor, announced a production halt at its plant in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. It cited employee safety as a reason.

Honda Motor’s local subsidiaries Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. and Honda Cars India Ltd. said they have temporary shutdown of their plants and their leadership will decide when the plant will be opened after closely reviewing the situation.

India-based Hero MotoCorp Ltd., the country’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, said it would stop operations at all global manufacturing facilities, including in India, Colombia and Bangladesh until March 31 in light of the global caseload.

Two industry groups, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India, have asked member companies to consider plant shutdowns “for a limited period” to make sure workers do not catch the virus.