The auto industry races to make breathing aids, PPE and daily essential relief packages
The coronavirus continues to rapidly spread across the globe with new epicentres emerging in Italy and the USA. As India crosses two months of battling the deadly virus, the government’s nationwide lockdown to flatten the curve is still in place, and we as citizens can do our part in by staying safe at home. Helping in the battle against this virus, we have witnessed the auto industry taking giants steps towards boosting production of life-saving machinery and kits that are urgently needed in this time of crisis.
One of the first companies to step up to the plate is the Mahindra Group. The company announced that they would start producing ventilators, as that is the need of the hour. In a week, Mahindra was been able to create a prototype for a lightweight ventilator that will cost only Rs 7,500, as compared to normal ventilators used in hospitals that cost around Rs 5 lakh. And the manufacturer hasn’t stopped there. The company has also sourced a face shield design from the Ford Motor Company (whom they have partnered with, in India) and has started manufacturing it at their plants.
Tata Trust & Sons
The Tata Trust and Tata Sons have promised to contribute Rs 1,500 crore towards the relief fund set up by the Prime Minister. This massive infusion of funds will be utilised to procure testing kits, provide protective material for medical staff, purchase medical equipment such as ventilators, and help set-up treatment facilities for the infected. The company is also gearing up to manufacture ventilators that will go a long way in ensuring there is enough medical equipment to deal with the situation.
Through their CSR wing, Hyundai Motor India Foundation, the South Korean car manufacturer, has ordered advanced COVID-19 test kits from South Korea that will benefit up to 25,000 people. South Korea has done a great job in combating the virus on their home turf, and bringing their advanced diagnostics kit to India is the sort of impetus that the medical workers need to combat the coronavirus. Hyundai India has also stated that they will continue to monitor the situation and ramp up multi-layered CSR initiatives to support the government in the fight against COVID-19.
Maruti Suzuki India Limited
Joining the fight, the country’s largest car manufacturer has announced that they will be scaling up production for ventilators in the country as well as increase the production of three-ply masks that medical staff desperately need. Maruti Suzuki has tied up with AgVa Healthcare, a ventilator manufacturer, to increase production to 10,000 units a month. While AgVa will produce the ventilators, the automobile manufacturer will use their supplier base to produce the required components as
well as run quality checks.
TVS Group Companies
TVS Motors and its Group Companies have committed a contribution of `25 crore towards the PM’s relief fund. The money will be employed for numerous initiatives, including the making and supply of one million protective face masks, the production of medical equipment, using the factory kitchens at their multiple facilities to make pre-packaged meals that can be supplied to essential workers including police personnel, healthcare workers, volunteers and municipal staff. TVS will also be distributing dry rations in Himachal Pradesh to daily wage workers, who have been hit by the lockdown. The company is also weighing the option of tying up with a 3D printing company to make ventilators.
Steelbird Hi-Tech India Ltd has geared up to provide relief to labourers and those in need around Baddi, in Himachal Pradesh, where their manufacturing unit is located. The company has offered free ambulance services, and has also set up a helpline number to aid those who are stranded and require assistance. The company has also given free helmets to the police who are on duty around the clock, and they are also offering meals to their 500 workers as well as 100 labourers who are currently camped out in a nearby school, as they survive these troubled times. Steelbird is also providing doorstep delivery of food kits for their workers who are at home. This kit includes 10kg flour, 5kg rice and 2kg pulses.