Corrected: Auto companies in India cut more jobs, halt production to tackle slowdown
(This Aug 22 story corrects paragraph 5 to remove the number of cuts at Denso and adds company response) By Sudarshan Varadhan and Aditi Shah NEW DELHI (Reuters) - With India's auto sales declining for the ninth straight month in July, more automotive manufacturers are laying off workers and temporarily halting production to keep costs in check, according to sources and documents seen by Reuters.
(This Aug 22 story corrects paragraph 5 to remove the number of cuts at Denso and adds company response)
By Sudarshan Varadhan and Aditi Shah
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - With India's auto sales declining for the ninth straight month in July, more automotive manufacturers are laying off workers and temporarily halting production to keep costs in check, according to sources and documents seen by Reuters.
Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor <7203.T> and South Korea's Hyundai Motor <005380.KS> are the latest in a string of companies to briefly halt some parts of production at plants to combat slumping sales, according to company memos to employees, reviewed by Reuters.
Passenger vehicle sales in July fell at the fastest pace in nearly two decades. The sales declines have triggered major job cuts in India's auto sector, with many companies forced to shut down factories for days and axe shifts.
Sources have told Reuters that even more companies have now begun to lay off temporary workers as the slowdown worsens.
Denso Corp's <6902.T> India unit, which makes powertrain and air-conditioning systems for cars, has cut some temporary workers at its Manesar plant in north India, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
A spokeswoman for Denso said the information was incorrect and declined to elaborate further. In a separate email, another company official disputed that the firm employed temporary workers at its Manesar plant.
Bellsonica, which is part-owned by India's biggest carmaker Maruti Suzuki
Bellsonica could not immediately be reached.
Reuters earlier this month reported automakers, component manufacturers and dealers had already cut 350,000 jobs.
In a meeting with India's finance ministry on Aug. 7, industry executives asked for tax cuts, and easier access to finance for dealers and buyers, in an effort to revive sales.
Toyota, in a notice dated Aug. 13, told its workers the company would halt production at its plants in Bengaluru in southern India on Aug. 16 and 17 "due to low market demand of vehicles" and high stock of about 7,000 vehicles.
N. Raja, deputy managing director, at Toyota's India unit, told Reuters that while the company had a flexible production system it had to resort to five no-production days in August to prevent the build up of stock.
"The industry is deeply concerned with the reality of poor customer sentiment faced by the sector," said Raja, adding he hoped the government would step in to support the industry.
Hyundai, in a memo on Aug. 9, also said it would halt production for several days in August across various departments including the body shop and paint shop as well as its engine and transmission plants.
A Hyundai Motor India spokesman said the company expected sales to pick up in the festive season starting next month and added that the company had not laid off any workers.
(Writing by Aditi Shah; Editing by Euan Rocha and Mark Potter)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.