TVS Motor says readying to start ops post COVID shutdown

TVS Motor Co, one of India’s top three two-wheeler makers, said it is getting ready to restart manufacturing operations after registering zero sales for the month of April due to the pan-India Coronavirus lockdown.

“TVS Motor Company is gearing up to restart operations as per state guidelines and is undertaking strong measures to safeguard the health of the employees. We are optimistic about the potential demand for personal mobility once things normalise,” the company said.

The statement comes a day after truck and bus maker VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd said it has got the go-ahead from the Madhya Pradesh government to restart its manufacturing operations.

However, the commercial vehicle manufacturer was yesterday guarded in its outlook, and said it would await restarting of operations at its suppliers’ factories, before resuming the production of buses and trucks at its own.

However, things are different for two-wheeler makers like TVS Motor, who get about half their sales from outside India. Even as India remains under a lock-down, many countries have their automobile showrooms open despite the threat of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the government has, in recent days, allowed sea ports to function for the purposes of import and export of goods, giving a lifeline to companies like TVS.

“Following resumption of operations at Chennai Port, 8,134 units of two-wheelers, and 1,506 three-wheelers were shipped utilising the stocks from March 2020 while ensuring utmost safety,” it said.

Automakers are in a quandary over the lock-down, which was imposed a week before a deadline beyond which they could not sell vehicles that fail to comply with new, upgraded emission standards.

It is estimated that tens of thousands of motorcycles and scooters manufactured to the older, BS-IV specifications are lying unsold in dealer godowns across the country.

The companies have two options: They can either export all the surplus units, or disassemble them and use them for spare parts. For now, no automaker has announced what it plans to do.

The lock-down came at a particularly bad time for the Indian auto industry, reeeling, as it was, from one of the worst slowdowns in demand seen in the history of the sector.

Companies had already slashed production by up to a third due to the slow-down, when Coronavirus, and the lock-down, hit.