Mumbai: With the automobile industry facing a severe slowdown and job losses over the past few months, Maruti Suzuki has decided to shut down the passenger vehicle manufacturing operations of Gurugram plant and Manesar plant in Haryana for two days. Even other automobile makers have been reporting falling sales due to sagging consumer sentiment amid the economic slowdown.
"We also closed the plant for a day or two in August," said N Raja, Deputy MD of Toyota Kirloskar. "If a company has more stock than sales, then we will have to make such decisions."
Ashish Harshraj Kale, president of the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), said August auto sales were not very good and dealers are in a cautious mood.
"Manufacturers prefer to shut down the plant for a few days rather than cutting jobs. Our survey from April to July shows that dealers have cut 8% of jobs across the country. SIAM reported 3.5 lakh job cuts of which 2 lakh jobs were slashed by the dealers."
However, automakers Honda, Toyota and Maruti Suzuki India are hoping that this festive season will bring some uptick in demand although "great signs" of recovery do not seem to be in the market due to the prevailing negative sentiments.
"Looking at things which happened in this fiscal, there don't appears any great signs, but definitely festival season will bring some uptick as compared to what we have seen in the last five months," Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) Senior VP and Director (Marketing & Sales) Rajesh Goel said.
Goel said though festival season has already started in the country's southern and western regions, it has remained subdued so far on account of various reasons, including more-than-expected rains in some parts.
Similarly, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) Deputy MD N Raja said there might be a slight pick-up in sales during the festive season. He said things might improve in terms of sales but it is not going to be a dramatic recovery.
Maruti Suzuki India ED (Marketing & Sales) Shashank Srivastava said that under the current scenario, the consumer offers are on the higher end although these vary from time to time and from one region to another. "With an increase in inquiries, we hope that demand during festival season will go up and consumer offers will reduce," he added.