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From Sanitizers to Facemasks – How Indian Automakers are pitching in to fight the Pandemic

These are certainly extremely unfortunate circumstances, probably the worst pandemic that the present living population has ever faced. From longing to work from home to getting desperate to get back to offices, from fantasizing dream holidays to wanting to somehow survive through the night, this pandemic has definitely dropped a bombshell on each of our lives. Who would have ever imagined that they would be immensely contributing to the well-being of the world, just by staying idle in their homes! As we try to do the best we can, car makers not just in India, but across the world, aren’t idle but are pitching in their entire effort to fight off this pandemic. Monetary aid or physical aid, small or large, every drop counts! These come at the stage even when their entire production machinery is put to a grinding halt and since the sales is ZERO and so is the revenue.

Aids and contributions have been made by almost every automaker in India, in whatever best way available and possible by them. Few OEMs have also been thinking of repurposing their production lines during the lockdown, and contribute in manufacturing of healthcare kits. And since automotive manufacturing is hugely different from healthcare manufacturing, it is just not as easy as one would think, to completely re-purpose the machinery to manufacture an entirely different product.

Repurposing of production lines come with their own challenges. But the key take away for the companies would be protecting their own workforce, while also positively impacting their reputation. The complexity of repurposing depends on the product that is to be manufactured. Manufacturing of simple masks and face shields do not require the entire production line to run, nor require the entire production workforce. But producing complex health care systems in lines that are built for manufacturing cars can be extremely hard, complex and time consuming. For instance, Elon Musk has offered to produce ventilators in Tesla’s production line, if at all time requires. Engineers at Mahindra, on the other side have produced cheaper ventilators indigenously, making use of their existing production lines at Kandivali and Igatpuri. These ventilators, called AIR100”, are under rigorous testing by ICMR, and once approved, Mahindra is willing to ramp up its production volumes, as claimed by its Managing Director, Mr. Pawan Goenka. Mahindra also along with its JV partner, is producing face shields with design contributions from FORD, and is shipping to major healthcare units across the country. Many other Automakers have also extended their helping hands in fighting off this Global Pandemic.

Here is a comprehensive list of contributions pledged or made by the Indian auto makers until end of April 2020 –AutomakerMonetary AidMedical or Health care AidOther AidBajajRs. 100 croreSpecial Economic Aid Program for Rural areasBMW IndiaRs. 3 crore– Helping in creation of special Isolation wards in hospitals.Providing nutrition to marginalized families in selected cities.– CCE and PPE to hospitals in Chennai and DelhiFCA IndiaRs. 2 crore– Medical equipment, air validation systems and oxygen pipelines to selected hospitalsEssential kits to 1500 familiesHeroRs. 50 crore– Rs. 50 crore for relief worksHondaRs. 11 croreFood packets to under privilegedEngine powered sprayers for fumigationHyundaiRs. 11 crore– Rapid Testing kits from South Korea6000 dry ration packages– 17000 PPE kits, 20 lakh masks and  lakh sanitizer kits– 1000 ventilatorsKiaRs. 2 crore– Not KnownNot knownMahindraNot known– Face shields, hand sanitizers and ventilatorsMaruti SuzukiNot known– 10000 ventilators per month along with AgVa Healthcare.Dry rations and food packets to families in villages nearby to manufacturing units.– PPE for frontline workers– 1 Million masks for Haryana and Gujarat– 16 Waste collection vans for HaryanaMercedes BenzNot known– Temporary hospital in Pune with 1500 bed isolation wardDry rations and kits to 1600 familiesMGRs. 2 crore– 100 Hector SUVs for personnel delivering essential services.– 1000 ventilators per month from JuneSkoda & VWRs. 1 crore– 35000 sanitizers and PPE kitsTata        Rs. 1500 crore as part of Tata SonsTVS  Rs. 30 crore

Auto Punditz salutes the contribution done by all the automakers in these trying times. We also hope that India as a nation and as a economy comes stronger post this pandemic.

(With this post we officially welcome Karthick to Team Auto Punditz. Karthick is an auto enthusiast, and an engineer by profession, currently employed in an auto MNC at Chennai; has a craving on new tech and a particular interest on the Indian automotive market.)


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