The ongoing truck strike is now seriously threatening the Indian automobile industry as most manufacturers using a just-in-time inventory system watch their components supply dry up.

This is despite most manufacturers stocking up for some days as soon as the strike was announced.

Tata Motors beefed up its parts inventory when the strike was announced but now admits problems it will have a problem if the strike continues for 10 more days.

Hyundai India has already deferred the launch of the Getz hatchback from the end of this month to mid-September as it wants to build up stock before launching the car.

The company is also struggling to meet export and domestic commitments for the smaller Santro Xing hatchback, for which there is already a long waiting list.

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Motorcycle manufacturer Bajaj Auto also took stock before the strike but expects to feeling the pinch within a week.

Utility vehicle and farm equipment manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra is in a tighter situation; normal production will be affected within 3-4 days if the strike continues.

Ford India expects production to come to a halt in seven days.

Market leader Maruti, however, has an advantage: its suppliers are located near its plant.

Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland are examining alternate parts transport arrangements such as trains.

The truckers’ strike is now six days old and there seems little chance of an early settlement.

The All-India Motor Transport Congress has gone on strike protesting the newly implemented 10% service tax. However, the government has responded that the tax has been imposed on booking agents and not truckers themselves. Talks held on Wednesday evening ended without both parties reaching any agreement.

This is the fourth truck strike in India since 1997.

Deepesh Rathore / Tilak Swarup