Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) have opened 40% of its tractor dealerships as these vehicles were classified as essential services with farmers needing them in peak season moving from harvesting to sowing soon, Rajesh Jejurikar, executive director (auto and farm sector), M&M, told CNBCTV18.
The company has enough finished goods inventory of tractors available because sales abruptly stopped towards the end of March, with lockdown coming into effect. Jejurikar said while the dealers had started to open, it is the NBFCs and financial institutions that should start lending to support the demand.
Mahindra’s Farm Equipment Sector Sells 4,716 units in India during April 2020
Meanwhile, auto dealers are also ready and waiting for the announcement of dates to resume operations. “We believe we have adequate inventory in place to manage the first few weeks of demand,” he said.
As for restarting manufacturing facilities, Jejurikar said the plan is to start manufacturing slowly and the company is not planning to open plants before the middle of May. “We don’t need to because we have adequate finished goods inventory. We would rather establish availability of labor, availability of parts and social distancing and build manufacturing through slow ramp up as we go through the middle of May onwards,” he said.
He also said if anyone was to start operations on May 3, the labor workforce would not be available. However, that is not the case with M&M as it is not planning to resume operations at the beginning of May. “We are not assuming that we are opening our plants from May 3, we are assuming to open our plants in the middle of May or May third week because we have adequate inventory right now and there is no point rushing to open the plant or taking undue risks with people in the short-term”.
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