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May 13, 2020

Tata Motors slowly restarts output, sales and service in India

Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motors announced a restart of Indian manufacturing operations for both commercial and passenger vehicles at plants in Pantnagar (Uttarakhand), beginning last week, and at Sanand (Gujarat).

By Olly Wehring

Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motors announced a restart of Indian manufacturing operations for both commercial and passenger vehicles at plants in Pantnagar (Uttarakhand), beginning last week, and at Sanand (Gujarat).

Plants in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh), Dharwad (Karnataka), Jamshedpur (Jharkhand) and Pune (ambulance manufacturing) are now in the final stage of readiness and expect to begin production over the next few days.

The recommencement of operations followed receipt of all necessary approvals from relevant government authorities, the automaker said in a statement.

Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD, said: "Our utmost priority is the safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers and ecosystem partners. Therefore, we restart operations with limited, essential staff in each plant, adhering to all mandated safety norms while efficiently meeting operational requirements.

"The support and cooperation extended by local authorities, state and central government, our union partners and our dedicated workforce have been instrumental for a smooth restart.

"We will scale operations in a graded manner as the entire enabling ecosystem of suppliers, vendors, dealers and customers comes up to speed. We are cautiously optimistic and staying agile to cater to an evolving demand.

"The lockdown was our opportunity to accelerate our digital journey and evolve new ways of working, while servicing and supporting our customers. We are well positioned to redefine mobility with our new product portfolio, customised offerings and enhanced customer experience."

Dedicated restart teams at each location have curated detailed guidelines and conducted intensive training for maintaining social distancing at all workplaces, shop floors and canteen facilities. Enhanced sanitisation measures are being implemented and only limited, operationally required staff is being asked to come to work in personal vehicles or company transport.

Every employee rejoining the workplace is required to download and use the mandatory Aarogya Setu app. Employees are also required to periodically check in and declare the status of their own, as well as their family's, health on the Tata Motors in house health track portal.

All employees and visitors entering and exiting plant premises are also being screened for temperature checks.

Tata Motors has used the lockdown time to design new ways of working, respecting the mandatory safety norms and aggressively adopting digital. Via sessions conducted virtually, employees, dealers and supplier partners were oriented to this and trained on the new BSVI-compliant models for effectively selling and engaging with customers.

Nearly 200 dealerships and 300 workshops for passenger vehicles and over 400 sales outlets and 885 workshops for commercial vehicles have begun operations with a new set of standard operating procedure (SOPs) defining minimal interactions and maintaining prudent social distance while engaging with customers.

Over the last few days, customers have initiated new orders, deliveries of passenger vehicles have commenced and workshops are seeing increasing inflow of vehicles for servicing.

All discussions with customers are being done virtually using digital tools and any meetings, if necessary, are being conducted with prior appointments and after verification of all requirements. Documents for vehicle insurance and registration are being collected via mail or specially installed drop boxes and vehicle deliveries are being done only after all formalities are completed. Customer vehicles arriving at workshops for repairs and servicing are completely sanitised before being handed over after service.

Test drives are being offered on request by prior appointment at customers' preferred locations. Only one person drives the vehicle with a dealer staff member sitting in the rear seat to avoid any physical contact. Following every test drive, the vehicle is fully sanitised including replacing protective covers shielding the interiors of the vehicle that come in contact while driving.

Tata Motors recently launched Click to drive, an end to end online platform to select and buy cars. This platform is integrated with all dealers who arrange for the delivery of the vehicle nationwide.

For its commercial vehicle customers, Tata Motors extended all possible technical support to keep vehicles running during the lockdown. Additionally, duration of vehicle warranty, free services and Tata Suraksha AMC were extended.

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