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Hind Motors stares at executive exodus

Calcutta, Dec. 30: Hindustan Motors is expected to see a major exodus of its top-level managers when its voluntary retirement scheme closes next Tuesday.

Sources said at least 70 managers of the C. K. Birla flagship applied for the VRS on offer from November at the company’s Uttarpara factory. About 130 staff and workers have also applied for the VRS.

The last few weeks have also seen HM general manager (finance) S. K. Kanoria and head of quality control Shankar Rao quit the company.

Further, senior vice-president B. S. Khargonkar who was in charge of the Uttarpara factory, has been shifted to the company’s Indore plant in Madhya Pradesh.

S. Pattu, who was working with Texmaco, Indonesia, has been brought in as executive vice-president in charge of the Uttarpara factory. He was earlier with ICI and the Nagarjuna group.

“Earlier, the VRS was restricted only to the staff and workers. But later the company opened the scheme to the ‘M’ (manager) group,” senior company officials said.

Hindustan Motors’ plans of manufacturing the rural transport vehicle (RTV) at its Uttarpara plant are yet to take shape.

The management has also scaled down the number of shifts at the factory. “This has happened in two particular sections—body shop and press shop. There is only one general shift in these sections,” officials said. They said earlier, 60-65 cars were produced in three shifts, while 54 cars are rolled out in one shift now. “Productivity has gone up substantially.”

The company produced 1,070 units in November and a similar figure in December. However, HM is yet to stop production of its Contessa cars. The plant currently makes three to four Contessa cars per month.

Moreover, with sales of the Ambassador remaining stagnant, HM is focusing on the contract manufacturing option.

HM is already working for multi-national OEMs like General Motors and Ford at its Pitampura factory and intends to extend the contract to other plants like its Lancer facility in Chennai and at Uttarpara.

The company also plans to offer its foundry, forge and press shop facilities at Uttarpara for the contract manufacturing business.

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