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Covid-19 lockdown: Vehicle-makers, automotive platforms pitch in with service support

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on April 01, 2020 Published on April 01, 2020

Vehicle-makers and automotive platforms have been trying their best to offer emergency service support to their customers.

The nationwide lockdown has caught several businesses unaware and people have been scrambling in search of transportation and service support.

While most of the automotive companies have announced an extension of services — be it free services or extended warranty services — for the customers to avail after the lockdown, companies along with their dealers and other partners have been providing some service support during the crisis period.

Remote guidance

Toyota Kirloskar Motor, along with its dealer partners, has been working remotely, ensuring customers are helped and guided in an effective manner.

In case of emergencies where Toyota vehicles are involved, its dealerships are providing doorstep facilities as essential services.

“We have received few calls over in the past few days. However, we do not foresee any spike during the period as vehicle usage is less during the lockdown. For the few calls we have received we have addressed them remotely and in some cases, through emergency doorstep services, Naveen Soni, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Service, Toyota Kirloskar Motor.

Its emergency support staff is working from home and in case any Toyota vehicles is a part of an emergency or essential services (for hospital, police department or certain government department usage), the company is taking permissions from the local authorities to facilitate services at the customer’s doorsteps.

Roadside assistance

Hyundai Motor India has also extended its service support for emergency causes. The company received 400-500 calls seeking assistance for vehicles that reported problems on roads.

“We have a 24/7 on-roadside assistance partner for such support. Wherever local authorise gave approvals, the teams were able to do services and solve the issue. In case of major break-downs, we can take the car and leave it at dealerships. Repair work could be taken only after the lockdown period,” said a company spokesperson.

With its partner HPCL, commercial vehicle major Ashok Leyland has formed a joint task force to reach out to fleet owners to understand the kind of support their truck drivers, who were stranded on the highways across the country, might require during the lockdown.

Safe parking slots

HPCL has offered safe parking at its petrol bunks for the stranded trucks. For those who wan groceries, a basic hamper consisting of rice / atta, dal, and other basic necessities to cook food, mask, hand sanitisers, and soap was provided. To those who wanted cash, money was transferred quickly to the local HPCL bunk owner’s account, who in-turn withdrew the same and handed it over to the drivers. In a span of four days, over 1,300 drivers were supported.

“We understand that our customers are doing what it takes to ensure that we get all our essential commodities while we stay at home. They are the backbone of the nation and it is our duty to do whatever it takes to provide them with the best possible support. These are some of the immediate actions that we have taken, and we will continue to provide all assistance required,” said R Sivanesan, President – Quality, Service, and Parts, Ashok Leyland.

Ride-sharers

In addition to auto makers, many ride-sharing platforms are also trying to do their bit by joining hands with various State governments.

Zoom Car, a leading self-drive platform, has grounded its fleet due to the government’s shutdown order. But the company is utilising select vehicles to ensure emergency mobility for the frontline workforce, including bankers, healthcare professionals, and delivery executives.

It gets enquiries every day for emergency service support and has been fulfilling them whenever possible. As 144 Act has been invoked across the country, Zoom Car has been able to manage passes in certain scenarios, while customers have managed passes in other instances.

GoMechanic, a network of technology-enabled car service centres, has announced its plans to provide service, repair and maintenance of emergency vehicles running for health, water, electricity, sewerage, and other essential categories.

Published on April 01, 2020

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