The Coronavirus lockdown has brought the country to a standstill and there’s no doubt that the automotive industry is suffering because of this. If there was a number to be put on the losses incurred by the automotive industry during this period, well, we’ve told you that it’s in the region of ₹ 2300 crore a day. Given that April is that time of the year, when hopes are renewed, strategies are formed for the coming financial year and new cars are launched, the lockdown has taken all those elements off the table. With production facilities shut and workforce down to a minimum, carmakers are finding it difficult to cope with the losses incurred during the period of the lockdown. Rajeev Chaba, President And Managing Director, MG Motor India, is looking forward to the end of the lockdown and for good reason. In a brief conversation with carandbike, he said, “We are all waiting for the lockdown to end. There is no movement of transportation and so there’s no supply. It’s hurting everyone of course and a worrying point too for all.”
After the spread of the coronavirus in China, we all wondered about the disruption of supply MG Motor India would face from there. But the company beat all odds in March, when most of the carmakers faced a big problem with sales. MG Motor India sold a total of 1,518 units in March 2020, which is a growth of 10.32 per cent over sales figures of February 2020. These include 116 units of the MG ZS EV and 1,402 units of the MG Hector. In comparison, the company sold a total of 1,376 units in February 2020 with 158 unit sales for the ZS electric SUV and 1,218 units of the MG Hector. But the point to be noted here is that the company was hit with delays and stoppage in supply of components thanks to the global spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, which was peaking in China in February. Just to put things in perspective, MG Motor India sold 3,130 units in January 2020. No doubt, the company would have done more numbers if it hadn’t been for the lockdown, implemented March 23 onwards across the nation to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
So while, supply from China is still a worrying factor, the more pressing issue at hand is the supply of components from India. MG Motor India relies on the 2-litre motor from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is supplied from the company’s Ranjangoan factory, close to Pune. Now, FCA imports a lot of components from Turin, Italy for its diesel engine and considering that Italy has taken the worst hit as far as the spread of coronavirus goes, resuming supply will take more time.
MG Motor India manufactures the Hector SUV at its production plant in Halol
Chaba said, “For us the problem is that most of our supply of components comes from Pune and now that is the hotspot of the spread. The lockdown has just stopped everything and the whole supply chain is now an issue. However, we are in a better shape than some of the players in the market.”
Resuming the supply chain will not actually solve all the issues. While there has been a drop in demand over the past few years, once operations are resumed, buyers will take their time to come to a decision about a car or even a bike. Chaba reiterated this, “It (the lockdown) is not a case of switch on and switch off. It will take some time for the market to open up and we are very well aware of this. There are zero sales happening now and once the lockdown is lifted, we don’t expect people to flock to our dealerships. Some people are likely to delay their buying decisions now and we have to make note of that too.”
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