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Automobiles

Tata Motors doubles loss to $1bn as revenue drops by half

CEO warns of 'disruption' from factory shutdowns and supply chain troubles

A Tata Motors plant in Sanand, India: the automaker was essentially forced to halt sales and production in the country in April and May due to a nationwide lockdown.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Tata Motors' group net loss doubled on the year to 84.3 billion rupees ($1.13 billion) in the April-June quarter, as the coronavirus crushed sales for both its flagship brand and subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover.

The Indian automaker's revenue roughly halved on the year to 325.8 billion rupees, the company reported Friday, reflecting factory and dealership shutdowns in April and May during the country's coronavirus lockdown.

Tata Motors' latest results add to what has been a brutal year for India's automotive industry, with leader Maruti Suzuki this week posting its first quarterly loss as a listed company.

"Even as we continue to address the challenges, we see some disruption due to the intermittent shutdowns and supply chain bottlenecks," CEO Guenter Butschek said in statement, indicating the automaker's troubles are not over.

Tata Motors saw parent-only unit sales plunge 97% for commercial vehicles and 55% for passenger vehicles, while JLR suffered a 42% decrease in global sales.

P. B. Balaji, the group's chief financial officer, told a media briefing Friday that 98% of JLR distributors worldwide are fully or partially open, and every region is showing improvement in demand. But for parent Tata Motors, "the COVID impact is very sharp."

"We don't want to rush it since there is a virus there which is highly contagious," Balaji said. "A lot of care is being taken on that. So we are gradually getting production to ramp up. July is expected to be better than June in terms of supply chain."

India has struggled to contain its coronavirus outbreak, with cumulative cases topping 1.6 million as of Friday. Certain parts of the country remain under lockdown.

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