COVID-19 Updates

This page was last updated on April 7, 2020 at 4:30 PM. 

Latest Updates

As the world continues to navigate the challenges of COVID-19, there is one thing we have consistently seen at Merchants Fleet—there are essential businesses, products, and services that must keep moving to keep our people safe & healthy.

Working together, our fleet experts have identified the following tips and resources to help drivers stay safe and healthy while they are on the road.

As the COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing and developing, some of the information on this page may be subject to change or may not apply to your region. The following sources are where you can get the latest COVID-19 data and recommendations both nationally and for your state:

If you have questions, please contact us, and know Merchants Fleet is here for you.

Supplier Updates

Below is a list of actions our suppliers have taken in response to COVID-19. Merchants updates this list daily, so please check back regularly for updates. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Client Development Manager.

  • Bridgestone announced it will implement a temporary phased shut down of its manufacturing facilities in North and Latin America. Tire supply has increased to point of sale locations. We do not anticipate an impact to tire availability at this time but will be monitoring the situation closely.
  • Bridgestone announced all stores will reduce their hours to 8:00 am to 4:00 pm or 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. They also noted their Houston, TX, store has reopened, and the following locations remain closed: Detroit, MI (Michigan & 11th), Moody Air Force Base, and Euclid, OH. We continue to encourage all drivers to call ahead before heading to all maintenance facilities as hours remain fluid.
  • Goodyear announced that is has temporarily suspended America’s manufacturing, including plants in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Mexico, and the United States. The Peru plant was closed earlier this week. The Merchants team does not anticipate an impact to tire availability at this time but will be monitoring the situation closely.
  • We are seeing reduced hours across our national maintenance network. Because exact hours remain fluid and changes vary between regions, we recommend drivers call repair facilities to confirm hours.
  • At this time most MAACO, CARSTAR US, Meineke, and Take 5 locations remain open and operational.
  • PepBoys continues to alter operational hours of its facilities across the country.  Merchants recommends that drivers call ahead to ensure facilities are open before heading in for services.  PepBoys has also offered to consider alternative hours for those essential businesses in need of off-hours service.
  • Ford has provided a list of dealer service departments that are closed or have limited access. You can view the list here.
  • Valvoline Instant Oil Change has reported that all but 8 of their locations are open, and corporate staff is working from home. They have not incurred any supply chain issues that would prevent service. They are taking extra precautions to prevent germ transmission, and their stay-in-your-car oil change experience allows drivers to remain in their vehicles during service.

We continue to see dealerships altering operational plans and hours daily.  We are monitoring closely.

  • General Motors and Ford have provided an official statement to its fleet partners regarding the production of ventilators and other personal protective equipment.  The full statements can be read here:
  • Ford has canceled both their MY Fleet preview( previously scheduled for May) and the North American International Auto Show (previously scheduled in June).
  • Ford is delaying the restart of production at its North America plants to help protect its workers. The company had been aiming to restart production April 6 at Hermosillo Assembly Plant and April 14 at several key U.S. plants, and now has further postponed startup dates, which will be announced later. More details can be found here.
  • Toyota has extended is production shutdown through April 17, with current plans to resume production on April 20. Service parts operations and finished vehicle logistics centers will continue to operate in order to provide replacement parts to our customers.
  • Ford, GM, and FCA have shut down their US plants. Currently, order banks are still open and transportation teams are still delivering vehicles. Impacts to the order to delivery time is inevitable but have not yet been defined. We will continue to provide updates on this as we receive them.
  • Ford and FCA closed European plants, impacting the Transit Connect and ProMaster City. Merchants is working directly with clients impacted by this closure.
  • Puerto Rico has ordered the majority of its businesses to be shut down, including dealerships.

We are seeing some closures across the network and are working with clients that have impacted vehicles.  A list of closures is below:

  • Reading Truck Body’s offices and manufacturing plants are located in Reading, PA, and have closed. Their other facilities are open and employees are working from home.
  • Auto Truck’s HQ facility in Bartlett, IL, has initiated a work-from-home policy.  As of Friday, their other facilities are open and they are still working on vehicles.
  • TAG/LEER closed CA production facilities.
  • Adrian Steel’s HQ facility in Adrian, MI, is still open but has initiated a work from home policy where able. Plant manufacturing is still operating until further notice.
  • Canfield’s HQ facility in Warren, MI, is still open but has initiated a work from home policy where able. Plant manufacturing is still operating until further notice.
  • All Utilimaster facilities have closed except Kansas City (ship-thru for F150 & Transit). This includes the Saltillo, Mexico, facility which upfits the Promaster cargo vans on a ship-thru basis.
  • Knapheide defined their Quincy, IL, facility as essential to their operation and will remain open and running despite the announcement that IL moved to a lockdown status. All non-essential workers are working from home. We currently do not have any vehicles at Knapheide in IL.
  • Dejana has extended their closure through April 6th. Merchants is reaching out to impacted clients.
  • Morgan continues to produce bodies at most facilities.  Based on state definitions of “essential business” Morgan stays operational in CA, CT and OH. In PA the state government has issued an order that prohibits “transportation equipment manufacturing” and the company is working to obtain an exemption.

There has been 1 new DMV update as of April 7. Please refer to this list of State DMV statuses and extensions. Merchants will be monitoring and updating this list daily as the situation changes.

  • Starting April 6, ADESA will resume simulcast-only sales at 40 locations:
    • April 6: Tampa
    • April 7: Austin; Buffalo; Cincinnati/Dayton & Queen City; Des Moines; Indianapolis; Memphis; Minneapolis; Orlando; Pittsburgh & Mercer; Salt Lake City
    • April 8: Atlanta; Birmingham; Washington, D.C.; Houston; PA; Phoenix; Shreveport; Sioux Falls; Syracuse
    • April 9: Cleveland; Dallas; East Tennessee; Fargo; Jacksonville; Las Vegas; Lexington; Little Rock; Nashville; New Jersey; Portland; San Antonio
    • April 10: Chicago; Knoxville; Long Island; Ocala; Raleigh; Sarasota; Tulsa
  • American Auto Auctions has suspended auction operations.  They will continue to process titles and payments, redemptions, receiving vehicles, and online sales.
  • Clark County Auto Auction in Jeffersonville, IN, is closed for physical sales but holding online sales.
  • DAA has announced the following operations changes:
    • DAA Idaho in Nampa, ID, has closed sales but is accepting consignments. Anticipate delays in transportation time.
    • DAA Northwest in Spokane, WA, has suspended sales.  They are accepting consignments, and checks & titles processing is in place.
    • DAA Seattle has suspended sales.  They are accepting consignments, and checks & titles processing is in place.
  • In an external communication, IAA has reinforced they have been deemed an essential business and all 200+ facilities and auctions are operating on schedule.  Their auction model has been digital since 2004.
  • Manheim has temporarily suspended operations in the following states (all other Manheim locations are continuing online sales at this time):
    • Manheim Kansas City has been temporarily shut down for deep cleaning due to an employee testing positive for COVID- 19. The facility will reopen once deep cleaning is complete.
    • Effective through April 30, Manheim Hawaii in Honolulu, HI, has suspended sales and closed offices and facilities. Enhanced lot security remains onsite 24/7. Inbound gates will be closed with strictly limited exceptions by appointment only. Redemptions are now by appointment only. Ready Logistics will not be executing pickups or deliveries until further notice.
    • Effective through April 10, Manheim New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM, has suspended sales and closed offices, facilities, and lots. Enhanced lot security remains onsite 24/7. In-transit vehicles will not be accepted and should be re-routed to a neighboring Manheim location. Redemptions will not be released. Ready Logistics will not be executing pickups or deliveries until further notice.
    • Effective through April 7, Manheim New England in Dighton, MA, has suspended sales and closed offices and facilities. Enhanced lot security remains onsite 24/7. In transit vehicles will be accepted. Redemptions are now by appointment only. Ready Logistics will not be executing pickups or deliveries until further notice.
    • Effective through April 8, Manheim Seattle has suspended auction-based sales and closed offices and facilities. Buying and selling will still be available on OVE. Enhanced lot security remains onsite 24/7. In transit vehicles will be accepted. Redemptions are now by appointment only.
    • Effective March 26 through April 17, Manheim Denver‘s auction office & facilities are closed and auction-based sales are suspended. In transit vehicles will be accepted. Redemptions are now by appointment only. Ready Logistics will not be executing pickups or deliveries until further notice.
    • Effective April 3 until April 30, the following Texas-based Manheim locations have suspended sales and closed offices and facilities (commercial vehicles will continue to be accepted and redemptions are by appointment only): Manheim Dallas, Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth, Manheim El Paso, Manheim Houston, Manheim San Antonio, Manheim Texas Hobby
  • Manheim Albany and Manheim New York in Orange Lake, NY, will resume simulcast-only sales starting April 2. Auction offices, facilities and lots will remain closed on non-sale days.
  • Manheim Central Florida & Manheim Orlando will resume simulcast-only sales the week of April 6. Auction offices, facilities, and lots will remain closed on non-sale days, and commercial vehicles will continue to be accepted. Redemptions are by appointment only.
  • Manheim Chicago has resumed simulcast-only sales. Auction offices, facilities, and lots will remain closed on non-sale days, and commercial vehicles will continue to be accepted. Redemptions are by appointment only.
  • Manheim St. Louis will resume simulcast-only sales on April 7. Auction offices, facilities, and lots will remain closed on non-sale days, and commercial vehicles will continue to be accepted. Redemptions are by appointment only.

There is no impact to fleet drivers regarding tolls at this time. Some states have suspended walk-in services and cash toll payments, but all Merchants clients on toll management are by default covered by their transponder and/or plate number.

Transportation delays are being felt across the board. Those states with “shelter in place” orders should assume delays in delivery. Many states have DMV restrictions and various other business closures and limitations.

  • TSOA advised the current average for pick-ups is 8-10 business days, an increase from the normal 5-7 days, due to fewer drivers being on the road. Drivers are taking precautions to ensure they and the people they come into contact with remain safe. TSOA is in contact with Merchants account managers to let them know the status of moves, and they are making us aware of any potential delays as they happen.
  • PARS remains operational with all office staff telecommuting. They continue to realize growing transportation delays as the list of states ordering all workers in non-essential businesses to stay home continues to expand. Individual move delays or service issues are being communicated to clients accordingly.
  • RPM has moved to a remote workforce with limited capabilities. Additional time should be expected to secure capacity on New York and California loads.

Drivers will most likely be required to secure their own transportation to the destination of their choice as service providers are observing social distancing measures and will be unable to provide a ride. Our partner is working on adding call scripting for their call queue to outline this.

Geotab is experiencing low inventory on IOX cables, a supplemental add-on used with ELD solutions to charge in-vehicle tablets/devices. This can lead to longer than normal lead times. Merchants will be communicating with impacted clients. This will not block our ability to ship and install devices.

Driver Resources

If you’re part of an essential business, our team is available for you working from safe locations to offer some tips. Check out the following resources so you can stay safe and healthy. Please check back as we will continue to update our library.

Tips for Drivers During COVID-19: Staying in the Know

When you are out in the field, having the right information helps you stay safe and up-to-date on protocols. Here are some ways to stay in the know so you are prepared.

Watch Video

How Fleet Management Companies are Addressing COVID-19

FMCs recently weighed in about how things have changed in the wake of COVID-19 and actions fleets can take. Click here to read the Automotive Fleet article and see what our SVP of Sales & Consluting Tom Coffey had to say: Go to the article.

How COVID-19 has Impacted FMC Operations

“In addition to trying to be as communicative as possible with our clients, we’re letting them know proactively of all the capabilities that we have to offer at this time that could be applicable to their needs, including temporary lease vehicles, disposing of surplus or unneeded vehicles, and even potentially monetizing vehicles that are owned through sale and leaseback transactions,” said SVP of Sales & Consulting Tom Coffey. Go to the article.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Fleet Partners

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted multiple aspects of the fleet industry. SVP of Sales & Consulting Tom Coffey talked to Automotive Fleet about what Merchants has been seeing. Go to the article.

Advice for Fleets During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted how people perform their work duties. SVP of Sales & Consulting Tom Coffey weighed in with some advice for fleets in a recent article by Automotive Fleet.Go to the article.

Fleet Policies & Procedures to Minimize COVID-19 Contagion

Last week Automotive Fleet held an informative webinar discussing fleet policies and protocols for COVID-19 featuring our SVP of Sales & Consulting Tom Coffey. If you didn’t have a chance to attend, you can view it on demand here.

COVID-19 Driver Safety Tips

If you’re a driver in the field for an essential business, we hope you stay safe and well. Here are some tips to protect yourself.

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COVID-19 Driver Safety Tips

Keep yourself safe, healthy, and on the move with these tips from our client services team. To stay on top of the latest COVID-19 information and health tips, visit the CDC’s website.

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COVID-19 Vehicle Cleaning Tips

A clean car is an important step to reducing your risk while on the road, especially if you transport passengers. Our client services team shares advice on how to make sure your vehicle is sanitary for every shift. For more cleaning guidance, check the CDC’s website for the latest COVID-19 related recommendations.

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