This page was last updated on June 1, 2020 at 5:52 PM.
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:
- Your State Health Department
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
- OSHA COVID-19 Standards
If you have questions, please contact us, and know Merchants Fleet is here for you.
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.
- AAMCO centers are open and have implemented “no touch” procedures to ensure everyone’s safety.
- 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.
- Pep Boys announced 44 stores are temporarily closing all lines of business (service, retail & commercial). Customers can check location status here. 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 Dealer Service Department closures or semi-closures are down from 173 last week to 150 this week. In total there are over 3,217 Ford active dealers, of which 150 have a closed or semi-closed Service Department. We continue to recommend that drivers call repair facilities to confirm hours.
- 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.
- Currently, all but two Nissan retail locations in the U.S. remain open for business. Most municipalities have deemed vehicle service and repair as essential, so Parts Distribution Centers remain operational with enhanced safety measures in place. Consumers needing service are asked to contact their local dealership for information. Nissan dealerships are working to ensure technician availability and ample parts supply as they continue providing critical service and support during this time.
Many dealerships have reopened. Out of stock vehicle inventory is extremely low. We continue to monitor closely.
- Toyota will move most North American built vehicle orders submitted for the March 10th order close deadline to September delivery. All orders submitted for August delivery will also be moved to September delivery. Merchants will be reaching out to impacted clients.
- Audi has suspended operations at production facilities in Europe. They are scheduling as many units as possible for production and will convert anything not placed to a 2021MY.
- FCA has re-opened all plants and 96% of dealerships are open.
- Ford has re-opened all plants, and all dealerships are open.
- General Motors has re-opened all plants, and all but 24 dealerships are open.
- VW shipments of fleet courtesy deliveries resumed effective May 11 and all U.S. ports are open.
- Puebla, Mexico, is closed through the week of June 1, with Golf production to resume the week of June 8 (Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta GLI, Tiguan)
All major upfitters are at work and are reporting no significant backlogs.
Please refer to this list of State DMV statuses and extensions for the latest information. Merchants will be monitoring and updating this list daily as the situation changes.
- Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there are many precautions that need to be followed to ensure the safety of our clients and drivers. When possible, please complete the below steps when turning in a vehicle and avoid personal contact among all parties:
- Coordinate a pickup location near a road or highway in the event the vehicle is in a small neighborhood or area
- Remove all personal items from the vehicle
- Determine where the keys will be left to prevent personal contact with drivers
- Clean the car in accordance with CDC guidelines prior to pickup
- All ADESA auctions continue to follow CDC/PHAC guidelines on social distancing as well as any government-mandated public health and safety requirements. They have also provided the following operations updates:
- Dealers are permitted on site for pre-scheduled buyer vehicle previews where offered
- Commercial sellers are permitted on-site during posted hours (check with local auction for hours and availability)
- Redemptions are available by appointment only
- PSIs are available at all locations
- Vehicles may be released at all locations with pre-printed or digital gate pass
- All locations can receive and send titles/ownerships via mail and dropbox
- 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 resumed simulcast-only auction sales in the following locations:
- Manheim Albany and Manheim New York in Orange Lake, NY: Auction offices, facilities and lots will remain closed on non-sale days.
- Manheim Central Florida & Manheim Orlando: 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: 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: 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 Kansas City: Open sale has also resumed. OVE is available for selling. Auction offices, facilities, and lots will remain closed, and commercial vehicles will continue to be accepted. Redemptions are by appointment only.
- Manheim Cleveland: Weekly sales have also resumed. OVE is available for selling. Auction offices, facilities, and lots will remain closed, and commercial vehicles will continue to be accepted. Redemptions are by appointment only.
- Manheim Denver: Sales have also resumed. OVE is available for selling. Auction offices, facilities, and lots will remain closed, and commercial vehicles will continue to be accepted. Redemptions are by appointment only.
- Manheim Little Rock: Sales resumed today. OVE is available for selling. Auction offices, facilities, and lots will remain closed, and commercial vehicles will continue to be accepted. Redemptions are by appointment only. Detailed policies can be found here.
- Manheim California, Manheim Fresno, Manheim Riverside, Manheim San Diego, Manheim San Francisco, & Manheim Southern California resumed auction sales in a simulcast-only sale format ong April 27. Sales will be hosted via an out-of-state sister Manheim location. Regular sale day schedule resumed the week of April 27. OVE is available for selling. Auction offices, facilities, and lots will remain closed, 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.
Fleet & 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.
Infographic: Getting Back on the Road Checklist
here are a lot of factors to consider as your fleet either gets back on the road or continues to adapt to current realities. Here is a checklist to help you prioritize and organize which actions to take.
Infographic: Maintenance Tips During COVID-19
As some states extend stay-at-home orders, it’s important for fleets to know how to handle maintenance safely. Here are some tips for keeping your vehicle in good shape while exercising precautions.
COVID-19 Driver Safety Tips
For essential drivers who are still working, vehicle maintenance is important to staying on the road safely. Here are some tips for managing maintenance during the current pandemic.
Keep Your Business Moving: Fleet Strategies
This 30-minute webinar tackles flexible strategies you can use to increase cash flow, scale new business lines, and maintain your company culture.
The Tough Times Playbook: A CEO’s Guide to Navigating Through Crisis
Leading during a time of crisis can be challenging. Our CEO Brendan P. Keegan shares his Tough Times Playbook on our blog.
Strategies to Keep Your Business Moving
Learn about the different options Merchants Fleet has available to keep your essential business on the road during the pandemic.
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.
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.
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.