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Tata Motors, which continues to fight economic slowdown that is being felt more sharply by medium and heavy commercial vehicle (MCV/HCV) manufacturers since the last fiscal, is going for a five-day plant closure in Jamshedpur between September 26 and October 2. September 29 being Sunday and October 2 being Gandhi Jayanti, the plant would in effect see a seven-day shutdown, only to reopen on October 3.
This would be the third shutdown in the current fiscal of its 1.50 lakh chassis per year capacity MCV/HCV plant here, being taken in quick succession. The plant, which saw a two-day shutdown earlier in the month on September 18-19, had kept production at abeyance for three days last month between August 29 and 31, thus taking the total block closure figure so far to 10 days.
Sales of MCVs/HCVs, said to be the index of economic activity in any country, continues to be low for Tata Motors since last year and had seen the firm keep its plant here in a shutdown mode for 18 days altogether.
Weak demand for commercial vehicles has also forced the auto major’s subsidiary TML Drivelines here to act in sync and observe a five-day plant from September 26-October 2. Also, JV company Tata Cummins, which supplies engines for most of the MCV/HCV models Tata Motors produces here, has also decided to take a three-day plant shutdown from September 27-30.
Talking exclusively to FE on Monday, Tata Motors plant head AB Lall said, “The recessionary trend continues... we are currently producing as per the market demand for the month and thereafter, taking a shutdown; we are taking a shutdown again from September 26 to October 1.”
Lall who said he was seeing no respite from the situation at least in the immediate future and that it was becoming difficult for the company to guess the way ahead added that the unit’s output target for September had been “around 5,000 (chassis)”.
This, however, was discounted by Telco Workers’ Union general secretary Chandrabhan Singh who said the plant’s target for September had only been 3,200 chassis. The unit had turned out 5,000 chassis and 4,300 chassis in July and August, respectively, this year.
Lall, however, felt that the company’s production target for October would remain as weak as in the current month. The plant was turning out around 8,000-8,500 chassis a month in May-June this year, which too was far lower than its top output of