Even as Tata Motors’ Pune facility on Monday announced it will start assembling a version of the Jaguar Land Rover, XF saloon, the main plant at Pimpri was getting ready for its second block closure in two months.
The previous closure was during the 2012 Christmas season. The company will be closed from January 28 to February 1. The plant will reopen February 2, 2013. The Pune plant will have holidays on January 26 and 27 taking the total number of days the plant will be closed to seven days.
The company has issued a note to vendors and informed them about the next block closure. A company spokesperson said the closure was to align production with demand. “We will do this aggressively to retain health of the company in this situation of flux. These steps are taken to keep inventories under control,” the spokesperson said.
Prevailing business conditions and sluggish sales have left the company with fewer options. The commercial vehicle business unit plant at Pimpri will remain shut with sales falling in the last few months.
During December 2012, Tata Motors saw a 20% year-on-year drop in sales to 65,582 units from 82,278 units in December 2011. The passenger vehicle sales, excluding JLR numbers, was down to 14,185 units (28,916 units in December 2011). However, the car plant will continue normal operations, the company said.
Persistent weak demand had last week forced Tata Motors take a three-day block closure at its heavy and medium commercial vehicles plant in Jamshedpur between January 14 and 16, which was the fifth plant closure this fiscal.
The company has been trying to boost commercial vehicle sales in the difficult market through offers. In a bid to attract sales, Tata Motors recently doubled the warranty period on its heavy trucks. It offered four years of warrant on heavy trucks of 25 tonnes and above.
The Pune plant has four assembly lines one each for MCVs and HCVs, LCVs, utility vehicles and one for passenger vehicles (Indica and Indigo) at the K Block.