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Ashok Leyland Announces Five Non-working Days at Chennai Plant from Today as Auto Sector’s Woes Worsen

New Delhi: Chennai-headquartered automaker Asjok Leyland has announced that it will shut down its production facility for five days from Friday due to “contraction in the commercial vehicle market”.

On Thursday, Leyland — also the country’s third-largest commercial vehicle manufacturer — said in a statement: “As already informed, due to continuing sluggishness and contraction in the commercial vehicle market, the need has arisen to continue the corrective actions to safeguard the interest of the company. Hence, it has been decided to declare 06.09.2019, 07.09.2019, 10.09.2019 and 11.09.2019 as non-working days and 09.09.2019 as 6th-day non-working day.”

In August 2019, Ashok Leyland reported a 50 per cent drop in vehicle sales to 8,296 units.

Earlier on Thursday, Maruti Suzuki announced a two-day shutdown at its Gurugram and Manesar production units on September 7 and 9.

Maruti Suzuki India, which is reeling under severe slowdown, reduced its production by 33.99 per cent in August, making it the seventh straight month that the country’s largest carmaker reduced its output.

The company produced a total of 1,11,370 units in August as against 1,68,725 units in the year-ago month, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said in a filing to the BSE on Monday. Passenger vehicles’ production last month stood at 1,10,214 units as against 1,66,161 units in August 2018, a decline of 33.67 per cent, it added.

As the auto sector reels under a slowdown, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari assured of all possible support from the government, including taking up the demand of GST reduction with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Gadkari also said his ministry would give out 68 road projects worth up to Rs 5 lakh crore in the next three months to help generate demand for commercial vehicles.

With the impending price increase of vehicles and the upcoming of BS-VI norms deadline, “it is your (industry’s) demand that there should be a reduction in tax of petrol and diesel vehicles. Your suggestions are good. I will take your message to the finance minister,” Gadkari said at the annual SIAM convention here. Even if it (GST) is reduced for some time, it will help, he added.

Gadkari said. Gadkari, who had in 2017 stated the auto industry would be “bulldozed” if they didn’t push for electric vehicles, also struck a reconciliatory note saying that the government has no intention to ban petrol and diesel vehicles.

“There have been talks that the government is planning to ban petrol and diesel vehicles. I want to make it clear that the government has no such plan. We are not going to do anything like that,” he said.

He added that he would take up a discussion with the finance minister for extending possible export incentives on automobile makers, as has been done for the sugar industry.

The minister also asked automobile companies to have in-house finance companies to help generate sales.

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Source: News18