Toyota Kirloskar Motor on Thursday evening announced its plant in Bidadi near Bengaluru in Karnataka will carry out an annual maintenance program which, as per the company, is a planned exercise to be carried out between April 26 and May 14. While the state of Karnataka has announced strict restrictions to check the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, the car maker has not made any reference to this.
Toyota does highlight that the temporary halt in production will impact supply of vehicles manufactured here but that it will use the pipeline finished goods inventory to serve the pending & immediate requirements of its customers. "Any inconvenience thus caused to customers due to this temporary shut-down is regretted and the company along with its dealer partners will ensure that best efforts are made to mitigate such issues," a company statement read, adding that supply of Glanza and Urban Cruiser - rebadged models of Maruti Suzuki products - won't be affected.
Toyota states further that 'periodic maintenance of plant and machinery is a standard operating procedure to enhance the competitiveness of the plants.'
During the pause in operations at Bidadi, Toyota states that only a limited number of employees would be present here and that the management will use the time to ''further enhance modern Covid-19 protection measures.'
Interestingly, production at the same facility was severely hit last year due to factors ranging from employees' union declaring a strike to the plant itself being located in a containment zone.
The current spate of Covid-19 cases in the country and in the state of Karnataka isn't likely to bode well for car makers either, Toyota included. There is a state-wide night curfew in place and this has been extended to a complete weekend curfew as well. Latest numbers reveal Karnataka has reported over 23,000 cases in a day and there have been 116 Covid-19-related deaths. CM BS Yediyurappa has termed the pandemic situation 'uncontrollable'. Yediyurappa has himself tested positive twice and was discharged from hospital earlier on Thursday.