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Imagenation

Slowdown Blues
A spanner has been thrown in the auto industry works and it is cause for concern

It’s been a tumultuous year for the economy so far after a barrage of bad news — slowing GDP growth, declining factory output and rising trade deficit. And one sector that has seen heavy collateral damage is the auto industry. Jamna Auto, the largest auto suspension-spring manufacturer in the country, is the latest victim. The company is planning to shut all its plants in August facing weak demand from its customers that include General Motors, Toyota Motor and Ashok Leyland to name a few. Meanwhile, Bosch has also stopped production at two of its plants to “avoid unnecessary build up of inventory”, underscoring the troubles the sector is facing. Industry experts believe this is one of the worst downturns in decades for passenger and commercial vehicle makers. Tata Motors had earlier warned of a “challenging external environment” and has been systematically cutting production over the past few weeks across plants. Other companies that have announced production cuts are Ashok Leyland and M&M. The largest company in terms of market share has also not been spared, as Maruti Suzuki laid off its temporary workforce due to the 36% plunge in its July sales. According to reports, about 350,000 workers in the auto industry have lost their jobs from this slowdown in the economy since April. And as the disquiet intensifies, the industry is not hopeful of respite anytime soon.

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