How India's automakers have joined the fight against Coronavirus

How India's automakers have joined the fight against Coronavirus

30th Apr 2020 7:00 pm

From financial aid to manufacturing support, India Auto Inc is putting its best foot forward in order to alleviate the hardships of the COVID-19 crisis.

At this point, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to state that the Coronavirus outbreak has completely upended life as we know it. Efforts to contain the spread of the disease have almost brought commerce and industry to a grinding halt. Despite best efforts, the number of affected individuals continues to rise, exerting an unprecedented stress on the medical system.

At a time like this, it is heartening to see that India Auto Inc has decided to step in and contribute. From extending financial aid to providing technical and manufacturing support for medical supplies and critical care equipment, numerous automakers have announced initiatives for the fight against coronavirus. 

Also read: How coronavirus has hit the global auto industry: a timeline

Also read: New car, bike warranty extensions due to COVID-19 - A complete list 

Here is the complete lowdown on how the automotive industry plans to support the relief efforts.

Bajaj 

  • The Bajaj Group has announced a Rs 100 crore COVID-19 pandemic relief package that aims to upgrade healthcare facilities as well as support initiatives to provide food and shelter to those in need. In addition, the company will also help those affected in rural areas by means of a special economic aid programme.

BMW

  • BMW Group India has pledged a sum of Rs 3 crore in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, with its employees also chipping in with voluntary contributions. The Group will aid in the creation of an isolation ward for patients at the Government General Hospital in Chengalpattu, near its Chennai plant. The company will provide critical care equipment to medical facilities and personal protective equipment (PPE) to medical personnel and law enforcement agencies in Delhi-NCR and Chennai. Moreover, BMW is also working towards providing nutrition for economically marginalised families in the two cities.

FCA

  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has pledged Rs 2 crore towards COVID-19 relief measures in India. As part of the efforts, FCA India Engineering is partnering with not-for-profit organisations in Chennai and Mumbai to distribute 1,500 family kits - each containing dry rations, personal hygiene essentials and PPEs for a family of four-to-five individuals - in the two cities. It will be supplying medical equipment to the Voluntary Health Services hospital in Chennai and air validation systems and medical oxygen pipeline to the Naidu hospital in Pune. Moreover, FCA employees are voluntarily making contributions from their salaries towards relief efforts.

Hero

  • The Hero Group has announced that it will contribute Rs 100 Crore as aid for the ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts in India. Half of this sum, Rs 50 Crore, will be contributed to the PM CARES Fund and the remaining Rs 50 crore will be spent in other relief efforts.

Honda 

  • Honda India Foundation, the CSR arm of all Honda group companies in the country, including Honda Cars India and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, has earmarked Rs 11 crore to support relief efforts during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The organisation will extend financial aid towards Central and State governments’ relief funds in the five states where Honda manufacturing facilities are located, including Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The foundation says that Honda group company associates have pledged to donate a day’s salary towards the total relief aid. Honda will also support local administration at its manufacturing locations by making available ambulances stationed at its plants and also supply food packets to the underprivileged. Besides the monetary aid, the conglomerate is supplying 2,000 units of its engine-powered high-pressure backpack sprayers to various government bodies to use for disinfectant fumigation. 

Hyundai 

  • Contributing towards the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Hyundai Motor India Foundation, the automaker’s CSR arm, has brought in advanced diagnostic testing kits for COVID-19 from South Korea. The procured kits, worth Rs 4 crore and said to be capable of testing 25,000 people, have been handed over to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Commenting on the initiative, S S Kim, MD and CEO, Hyundai Motor India, said, “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support the Indian Government with multi-layered CSR initiatives to bring back normalcy at the earliest.”

  • Hyundai Motor India Foundation has announced that it has donated a sum of Rs 7 crore to the PM CARES Fund, in addition to pledging another Rs 5 crore to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.  

  • The Korean carmaker is extending support to the administrations of Delhi, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra by providing 17,000 PPE kits, approximately 20 lakh masks (three-ply as well as N-95), over 1.5 lakh sanitiser kits and 6,000 dry ration packages, together worth more than Rs 9 crore. The company has also donated incinerators to hospitals in Tamil Nadu for the safe disposal of medical waste.

  • Hyundai has partnered with Air Liquide Medical Systems to increase the production and supply of ventilators in India. Hyundai, using this partnership, is targeting the production of 1,000 ventilators in Phase 1, which will scale up, thereafter.

Kia

  • As a goodwill measure, Kia Motors India, which has a manufacturing unit in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, has donated Rs 2 crore to the state’s Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

Mahindra & Mahindra

  • Mahindra & Mahindra has begun the manufacture of a face shield that’s developed from a design sourced from partner Ford Motor Corporation. The face shield fully blocks the face and eyes from accidental contact with liquids. When paired with N95 respirators, it can be a more effective way for medical workers and first responders to limit potential exposure to coronavirus than the respirators alone. The face shields are being assembled at eight of the carmaker's plants including the ones in Nagpur, Zaheerabad, Pithampur, Haridwar and Kandivali.

  • Mahindra's agri chemicals plant has also begun manufacturing hand sanitizers. 

  • Mahindra Group chairman, Anand Mahindra, revealed over Twitter that that the company is contemplating the manufacture of ventilators at its production facilities and converting its Mahindra Holidays resorts into temporary care facilities for COVID-19 patients. 

Maruti Suzuki

  • Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) has entered into an agreement with AgVa Healthcare, a medical equipment manufacturer, for producing up to 10,000 ventilators per month. The automaker will leverage its suppliers for producing components and tap into its technical know-how to upgrade systems for production and quality control. It will also aid in arranging financing, to the required extent. The carmaker will provide these services free of cost to AgVa Healthcare. Moreover, MSIL joint venture, Bharat Seats Limited, has further pledged to manufacture protective clothing for frontline workers.

  • Krishna Maruti, a joint venture of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), has begun supplying triple-ply face masks to local authorities. The company has pledged to provide one million face masks, produced in-house, to the Haryana and Gujarat governments each. It has handed over the first batch of 2 lakh masks to authorities in Haryana. Taking their prospective contributions a step further, Ashok Kapur, Chairman, Krishna Group, has stated that he is also “planning to import some machines and produce N-95 masks.” 

  • Maruti Suzuki is undertaking various community outreach programmes to support villages around its Gurugram and Manesar plants in Haryana. The company is leveraging in-house canteens at its manufacturing facilities to prepare and distribute food packets amongst nearby communities – over 1,20,000 such packets have been provided in the first three weeks of April. The company is also proactively working with the India Red Cross Society to provide dry ration kits in neighbouring villages – it has already distributed 10,000 such kits till April 20. Maruti Suzuki has announced that it is making potable water available at very nominal rates across 16 villages through 17 of its ‘water ATMs’, which can dispense over 1,000 litres of drinking water per hour. Moreover, the auto major has provided 16 waste collection vans for village sanitisation in Manesar and Rohtak and supplied face masks and other protective equipment through the Gurugram administration. 

Mercedes-Benz 

  • Mercedes-Benz India will set up a temporary hospital in Pune, with a 1,500-bed isolation ward for COVID-19 patients. The German brand will also support 1,600 daily-wage workers and below-poverty-line (BPL) families from Khed and Viman Nagar areas of the city by providing them with dry ration and cleaning kits.

MG

  • As part of its Developer Program, MG Motor India has announced a challenge for developing an affordable ventilator. Entries are being accepted until April 15, and they will be scrutinised by a team of medical experts. The best design will be provided a Rs 10 lakh grant, as well as production support at MG’s manufacturing facility in Halol, Gujarat.

  • The automaker has pledged to donate Rs 2 crore to government hospitals and health institutions in Gurugram, Haryana, and Halol in Gujarat. While the firm’s is headquartered in the former city, it has 80,000-unit capacity manufacturing plant in the latter. Half of the promised donation is being earmarked from the company’s coffers, and the rest is being pledged by its employees. Contributions will include essentials like gloves, masks, ventilators, medicines and beds, depending on the requirements of the medical institutions.

  •  MG has announced that it will be providing 100 units of the Hector SUV to personnel involved in delivering essential services across the country “till the end of May 2020.” The carmaker says that the vehicles will be provided free-of-cost with fuel and chauffeur-driven facilities to ensure safe travel for people at the frontline of the battle against the pandemic, including doctors, medical staff, police and government officials.

  • MG has partnered with Vadodara-based MAX Ventilators to assist in the manufacture of the life-saving medical equipment. The collaboration aims to increase ventilator production by five times to 300 units per month in phase 1, which the companies say should be achieved by end-June. In phase 2, the target is to step up production to 1,000 units per month, depending upon demand. 

  • Rajeev Chaba, President and MD of MG Motor India, announced via social media that he will be contributing one month’s salary towards coronavirus relief aid.

Piaggio 

  • The company has extended support to approximately 1,000 migrants by providing food and shelter to stay near the Piaggio factory in Baramati. In addition, Piaggio is working with the local government hospital to build an isolation ward for those affected by COVID-19. The company has also installed a sanitisation unit at the Sassoon Government Hospital in Pune to help healthcare workers. The automaker has distributed Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for these frontline workers as well.

Skoda-Volkswagen  

  • Volkswagen India has announced that it will be contributing to the PM CARES fund for every car it delivers to healthcare professionals.

  • Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Limited will be donating Rs 1 crore to the Sassoon General Hospital in Pune towards establishing a dedicated COVID-19 facility with 1,100 beds. The automaker will also provide 35,000 sanitizers to hospitals in Pune, Aurangabad, and Mumbai, and distribute food packets among the underprivileged in the Aurangabad region. Furthermore, the group is producing reusable face shields at its Chakan factory, which will be a part of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers. The company is also said to be attempting to tap into its global supply chain to organise essential medical supplies for India.

Tata

  • Tata Trusts has earmarked Rs 500 crore to empower and protect affected communities from the COVID-19 outbreak. Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Trusts has announced that the organisation is committing the sum for providing personal protective equipment, respiratory systems and testing kits and setting up modular treatment facilities for patients. Additionally, the resources will be used for knowledge sharing and training of healthcare workers as well as the general public.

  • Following this announcement, Tata Sons pledged another Rs 1,000 crore in the fight against the disease. In an official statement, the company said, "In addition to the initiatives articulated by Tata Trusts, we are also bringing in the ventilators necessary and are gearing up to also manufacture the same soon in India." 

TVS

  • The TVS Motor Company has announced a Rs 30 crore economic aid package which is being funded by the Srinivasan Services Trust (SST), the social division of the TVS Motor Company and Sundaram-Clayton Limited. The funds will be used for providing disinfection services, distributing one million face masks and providing daily meals to police personnel and healthcare and municipal workers. The company is supplying dry rations to daily wage workers in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh as well. TVS is also evaluating the prospect of producing ventilators.

In addition to extending support for the medical system in the country, automakers are also providing relief to their customers by lengthening warranty and service programmes. You can read more on this and how COVID-19 has impacted the automotive world here.

Also see:

Ahmedabad police ban vehicles to ensure Coronavirus lockdown is effective

Best automotive social media campaigns during the Coronavirus lockdown

KTM, BMW pull out of EICMA, INTERMOT motorcycle shows

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