Maruti is expected to lose at least 1,900 units of production a day of popular models such as the Swift and Dzire.

Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant may now remain closed for at least 15-20 days following Wednesday’s act of rioting and arson by plant workers that left a senior manager dead and about 100 officials injured.

A senior company official told Business Line that the delay is both because of the extensive damage to property and unavailability of workers, apart from the fact that the senior management “is against going there”.

A decision on when to re-start the plant is likely to be taken after Maruti’s Managing Director, Mr Shinzo Nakanishi, comes back from a visit to Suzuki Motor headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan, after July 25th.

“It will be suicide to start early and there is no urgency as officials are scared to go back there. There is no clarity on when the plant will start.

A report has been sent the headquarters and some officials from Japan are expected to come to Manesar to see the state of the plant,” the official said.

Gurgaon Output Shift

Maruti is expected to lose at least 1,900 units of production a day of popular models such as the Swift and Dzire, apart from the SX4 and A-Star. With the diesel models already on high waiting period, this is expected to cause a sharp dent on the car market leader’s sales and revenues over the next few months.

Since Maruti accounts for almost 45 per cent of cars sold in the country, any hit on its production will also pull down the overall growth for the already troubled industry.

Though production of the Swift will be increased at Gurgaon to compensate for the loss in output at Manesar, the challenge is that the welded bodies of both the Swift and Dzire are only made at the closed Manesar facility.

“We already make the Swift and the old Dzire at Gurgaon, so we may increase production there. But there is little space to expand on the existing lines,” said the official.

On Friday, the company has also cleared the existing inventory at its Manesar plant yard. This is expected to feed the dealer supply for about two days.

Separately, another company source said that the two Japanese company officials admitted to the ICU at Artemis Hospital in Gurgaon, have been shifted to the general ward. However, many officials still remain admitted at four hospitals in the Gurgaon area.

roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 20, 2012)
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