New Delhi:

India's largest motorbike maker, Hero MotoCorp Ltd, extended a shutdown at its manufacturing facilities across India till May 16, a day after Maruti Suzuki India Ltd announced a similar move, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Honda Cars India announced on Thursday that a maintenance shutdown will be preponed at its Rajasthan-based manufacturing plant by around ten days. The decision was taken due to the ongoing second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. The company has also decided to stop its car production at its Tapukara-based facility for 12 days starting from May 7.

Honda has informed, the production at the manufacturing facility will remain closed from May 7 till May 18, as Honda has informed. The automaker will resume manufacturing operations from May 19. Earlier, the annual maintenance block closure was scheduled for the middle of May 2021.

Honda is not the first automobile company to take such measures due to the increasing number of positive cases across the country. Earlier this week, Mahindra & Mahindra too announced that they are preponing their annual maintenance plant shutdown to May.

Hero's decision was made to ensure safety of its workforce and to break the virus chain, the company said in a statement on Sunday. Hero MotoCorp had suspended its manufacturing operations in April.

India's largest carmaker, Maruti, on Saturday extended a planned maintenance shutdown until May 16. read more

It was not immediately clear if Maruti's shutdown was to ensure safety of its workers or due to lower demand.

The coronavirus pandemic pushed India's passenger vehicle sales to their lowest in six years, annual data from an auto industry body showed last month, with the sector bracing for further fallout from a recent surge in cases. read more

India on Sunday reported more than 4,000 fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 242,362. Cases rose by 403,738, increasing the total since the start of the pandemic to 22.3 million. read