Coronavirus / COVID-19 Information

Putting people first is our normal course of business.

When things aren’t business as usual, we’re here to navigate challenging and unprecedented times with you – together. The Holman Way of doing business guides us to treat our people, business partners, and the community at large with respect and care. That empathetic mindset is the compass guiding our collective response to COVID-19.

ARI is considered an essential business. We continue to be fully operational and we’ve executed continuity procedures to support your fleet without compromising the safety of our people. This includes transitioning more than 95 percent of our workforce to remote workstations, and expanding flexible shifts to decrease volume and increase distance for onsite personnel.

With information changing by the hour, transparent communication is more important than ever and we will continue to update this page with the latest from our organization. Please visit the information centres on our US, UK, and German websites for information regarding that country.

Letter from ARI President Bob White from May 19, 2020

Fleet Industry Update

Latest news on the impact of COVID-19

ARI and our business partners are closely monitoring the impact that COVID-19 is having on our industry. Our Client Relations team will continue to communicate directly with our clients, and we will update this page with new information as we receive it.

Our team is updating this page every Tuesday and Thursday. Any new information that was added to this section in our last update is in blue.

As companies are adapting to this new landscape, please fill out our short two-question poll about the impact that COVID-19 has had on your fleet and immediately see how you results compare with other participants.

Take the poll and compare your results

 

Last Updated: August 11, 10:00. ESTMany tolling authorities are implementing temporary measures to limit the impact of COVID-19.ARI anticipates other tolling authorities to suspend cash payments and close service centres. We encourage drivers to visit the websites of their local toll authority for the latest information.Ontaro’s 407 ETR is fully operational, however, its service centre is closed.
Last Updated: August 11, 10:00. EST
  • Audi: Audi has resumed production of all models.
  • BMW: All BMW facilities have resumed production, although some are only running one shift. The company's production scheduling group has been working to revamp their production schedule. Model years change over between late June and late July, so some MY20 orders could be moved to MY21 production depending upon the type of vehicle. MINI has already changed over its model year.
  • FCA: All FCA plants in North America are operational but at reduced capacity.
  • Ford: All Ford facilities have reopened and are operating at full, pre-COVID production levels.
  • General Motors: General Motors has temporarily suspended the third shift at its plant in Wentzville, Missouri. They plan to implement voluntary overtime on Saturdays to try and minimize the effects on production of the Colorado, Canyon, Express, and Savanna. In addition, GM is reporting some delays in Denver, Colorado and along the west coast.
  • Honda: Honda of America Manufacturing has resumed operations at a dozen plants in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
  • Hyundai: Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama has resumed full capacity production with a three-crew, three-shift operation.
  • Kia: Kia has resumed production at its plant in West Point, Georgia. The corporate office continues working from home.
  • Mazda: Mazda reports that production has not been severely affected.
  • Mercedes Benz: Mercedes Benz has resumed production.
  • Mitsubishi: Mitsubishi reports that all regional team members and employees at their North American headquarters are working remotely.
  • Nissan: Nissan plants in Canton, Ohio; Smyrna, Tennessee, and Decherd, Tennessee have resumed production.
  • Subaru: Subaru plants in Gunma, Japan and Lafayette, Indiana have resumed production.
  • Tesla: Tesla's plant in Fremont, California has resumed operation.
  • Toyota: Toyota has resumed production, service parts depots and vehicle logistics centers are operating, and they are accepting orders. Headquarters employees are working from home.
  • Volkswagen: Volkswagen facilities have resumed production, shipments of fleet courtesy deliveries resumed, and all US ports are open.
  • Volvo cars: Volvo plants in Charleston, South Carolina and Torslanda, Sweden are operational.
So far, most upfitters haven’t felt a huge hit by the OEM factories closing, but companies should start adjusting their upfit strategies now before supply chain shortages catch up to upfitters. Check out ARI's blog on steps you can take to adjust your upfit strategy to roll with the punches. Read the blog.Last Updated: August 11, 10:00. EST
  • 3 Custom Solutions: Business is operating as normal, and they have implemented relative directives from the CDC and applicable health agencies.
  • Action Car and Truck. The business is operating as normal, and they have implemented precautions recommended by national, provincial, and municipal health authorities.
  • Adrian Steel / Adrian Road Redi: Adrian Steel facilities are operating.
  • Advertising Vehicles. Employees are working remotely. There are possible delays with the delivery of vinyl.
  • Altec: Altec production facilities are operating with regularly scheduled operations. Most office employees are working remotely.
  • AM Haire: Business is operating as normal. The company has implemented shift and work-schedule changes to support social distancing. Remote work arrangements are in place for Sales and Admin support and those programs will maintain adequate support for their clients and partners.
  • American Midwest Fleet: The company has limited operations due to a lack of local installers being available. Installations that have been already scheduled will be rescheduled for late April. If an appointment has not been scheduled, they will try to do so as soon as they resume normal operations. They are not shipping any product at this time.
  • ARE: Limited operations due to availability of local installers. Lead times have changed due to the pandemic.
  • Associated Graphics (AGI): Business operating as normal.
  • AutoTrim (Canada): Their office is open but they have limited onsite personnel.
  • Auto Truck Group: All Auto Truck production facilities are operating.
  • Boss Industries: Business is operating as normal.
  • Brown Industries: Business is operating as normal. They have implemented changes to their work schedule to support social distancing and are deep cleaning their facilities.
  • Canfield Equipment Service: Canfield's production operations have resumed at its facilities in Warren, Michigan and Dundalk, Maryland but they no longer have the capability to receive or ship vehicles and parts from suppliers. Sales and support staff working remotely.
  • Cap-It Truck Accessories: Sales and service department are open, but store hours may vary.
  • Cargo Ease: Operations have resumed, but orders are being produced on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Crown Forklifts: Crown is open and complying with public health guidance. They have implemented new health and safety measures to help check the spread of COVID-19.
  • Curry Supply: The company plans to remain open and operate fully within the guidelines of state mandates.
  • Dejana. Dejana facilities are operational.
  • Delivery Concepts: Production has resumed.
  • Demountable Concepts: Business as usual. Their sales and service staff are working remotely, and they have taken steps to reduce the amount of interaction that occurs on the production floor by social distancing. They have established and implemented communication procedures for employees and managers to deal with circumstances.
  • Derive. Business is operating but all travel has been halted.
  • Designer Decal: Operations have been suspended indefinitely.
  • Drive Products (GW Anglin, Voth, Del Divisions): Business is operating as normal, and they have implemented additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout their facilities.
  • Driverge Vehicle Innovations: The business is operating as normal, and they have implemented relevant directives from the CDC and other health agencies.
  • Doggett Machinery Services: Business is operating as normal. They have implemented social distancing practices in workplaces as well as additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures in their facilities.
  • Eco Vehicle Systems: The company has resumed production and is operating at 100% capacity.
  • ETI (Equipment Technology inc.): Their plant in Oklahoma City restarted production and is operating at 90% capacity.
  • Expertec: Business operating as normal and they are using virtual technology to meet with customers or suppliers as much as reasonably possible. They have also implemented additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout their facilities.
  • Farmbro: Plants are operating to provide essential services only, and most office staff is working from home.
  • Great Dane Trailers: The plans in Danville and Elysburg, Pennsylvania, are closed due to government mandates. The branch in Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania, is open for business because it provides a critical service to the transportation industry.
  • Highway Products: The business is operating as normal while instituting new policies to better ensure the health and safety of employees.
  • John Deere Construction & Forestry: Business is operating as normal.
  • Knapheide: Knapheide is operational and using a rotating work schedule due to a drop in chassis production.
  • Leavitt Machinery: The business is operating as normal, and they have implemented relevant directives from the CDC and other health agencies.
  • Legend Fleet Solutions. Business is operating as normal, and the company has implemented additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures. They report no issues with current or future orders.
  • Leyman Liftgates: Business as usual.
  • Lift Bodies, Inc. Lift Bodies is currently working four days a week and will be temporarily closed on Fridays.
  • Link Belt Cranes: Business is operating as normal.
  • MAACO: Business is operating as normal. They have implemented additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout the facilities.
  • Manning Equipment: Manning Equipment has resumed operations.
  • MARCOM: Business is operating as normal, and they are delivering products at no charge. They have implemented internal changes such as social distancing practices and nightly cleaning of facilities.
  • Masterack. Masterack's operational facilities have reopened.
  • Mickey Truck Bodies: Mickey has announced that all Mickey Truck Bodies manufacturing plants, Fleet Service Centers, and offices will be closed on Fridays until further notice.
  • Midway. Business is operating as normal.
  • Mobility Works: The business is operating as normal, and they have implemented relevant directives from the CDC and other health agencies. They are offering free delivery within the continental US and virtual appointments for commercial accessible vehicle customers.
  • Monroe Truck Equipment. Business is operating as normal. They have implemented social distancing guidelines, nightly cleanings of facilities, and rules to adhere to all health and safety mandates.
  • Morgan Corp (North America): All of Morgan's plants are operational, and office personnel are working remotely.
  • Morgan Olson: Operations have resumed but at a slightly reduced capacity. They do have a few supplier concerns due to the pandemic, and their team is monitoring the situation daily.
  • Northland Equipment Company: Business is operating as normal. They are taking precautions by limiting exposure when dropping off vehicles.
  • Palfinger: Palfinger is operating as normal. They have implemented social distancing practices, nightly cleanings of facilities, and all national health and safety mandates.
  • Reading: Reading Truck Body manufacturing will be closed from June 1 to June 12 due to issues with the supply chain and nationwide stay-at-home orders. Truck Equipment locations will operate in June on a location-by-location basis
  • Sabre Equipment: Sabre Equipment is operating as normal.
  • Safe Fleet (Prime Design): Business is operating to meet customer needs. They are encouraging social distancing practices in the workplace.
  • Signature Graphics. The company is using staggered shifts to conduct business.
  • Signature Truck: Business is operating as normal. They are taking measures for swing shift work, which will have complete coverage and should not affect their output of trucks for customers.
  • Simmons Rockwell: The company's commercial and fleet vehicle sales office is closed until further notice.
  • Sliding Systems: The company is open with limited hours, but their dispatch yard is open. They need 24 hours advanced notice for pickups.
  • Stellar Industries: Stellar Industries is limited visitors into their facilities and limited travel for employees. They are maintaining without delay.
  • Sterling: Business is operating as normal, but they have closed their showroom to the public.
  • Supreme (Wabash National): The company's upfitting business is running at 50% capacity, and they are evaluating their build schedule based on expected chassis and parts arrivals.
  • TAG / LEER: Production facilities in California are temporarily closed.
  • Time Manufacturing / Vesalift: The company is open for business while most support employees are working from home.
  • Toyotalift. Business is operating as normal.
  • Transit Truck: The company’s factory and administrative offices are currently closed. Service, sales, and parts departments are offering limited service.
  • Transport Graphics: The company is operating as normal.
  • Utilimaster: The facilities in Ephrata, Pennsylvania and Saltillo, Mexico are closed until further notice. All other facilities are open. The upfit sales and sales support teams have limited staff.
  • Vomela. The business is currently operating as normal and contingency plans are in place in the event that something changes.
  • Warner Truck Bodies. Warner Truck Bodies is operating.
  • Warren Install. Business is operating as normal, and contingency plans are in place in the event that something changes.
  • Westport Fuel Systems. The company's production and manufacturing facilities in Italy fully resumed operations on May 4.
  • Zoresco: Zoresco is closed until further notice.The following locations are able to receive deliveries from 8 AM to 2 PM daily: Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania; Oakwood Village, Ohio; and Monroe, Ohio.
Last Updated: August 11, 10:00. EST

United States

Dealerships have now reopened in all 50 states, but some dealerships may be closed or running on reduced hours. ARI recommends contacting them directly to confirm their status.

Canada

Dealerships remain open in all Canadian Provinces, although some dealership groups have closed. The best course of action is to contact the dealerships directly to confirm their current status.
Last Updated: August 11, 10:00. EST
  • Bentley: Bentley has several hundred new chassis in stock, some of which are specific for ARI's stocking program. There may be delays on the Isuzu FTR and N Series gas as Spartan Motors in Michigan has stopped assembly and shipping.
  • Big Tex Trailer World: The business is operating as normal.
  • Boyer Trucks: Boyer Trucks has begun ramping up their full chassis production. Boyer Trucks had temporarily converted production facilities from chassis assembly to spare parts supplier for at three-week period to support vehicles currently in service. This decision has caused them to roll back their chassis production schedule by three weeks.
  • Creative Bus Sales: Business is operating as normal for parts and service.
  • DTNA (Daimler Trucks North America): DTNA has temporarily suspended production at their facilities in Portland, Mt. Holly, and Cleveland due to instability in the supply chain. The Detroit plant is producing engines, axles, and transmissions.
  • Freightliner & Western Star Trucks: The company resumed regular truck production at all plants.
  • Fuso: Fuso has not made any official announcements, but they have a good mix of gas and diesel trucks.
  • Golden Gait Trailer Sales: The company is closed until April 30 due to a mandate by the state of North Carolina.
  • Hesse Group Cambli: Operations have reopened as of April 13.
  • Hino: Hino has resumed production at its plant in West Virginia. Employees at the corporate headquarters in Novi, Michigan continue to work from home in support of the governor's executive order until June 1.
  • HFI Isuzu Truck Center: The business is operating as normal, and they have implemented directives from the CDC and other applicable health agencies.
  • Hino: Hino is having productions delays due to some certification with emissions, and adding the current virus conditions has not helped. They report that any orders that have been already placed without VINs will be moved to August production, regardless of the build date. They have limited ground stock but will do their best to source any needs.
  • Hyundai Translead: The company's plants in Mexico have resumed production.
  • Isuzu: Business as usual. Their gas and FTR plants are still in operation and the ports are still accepting chassis.
  • Mack: Mack has resumed production of heavy duty trucks. The new model medium-duty production start date has been moved from July to September.
  • Navistar: Navistar has resumed production at it's plant in Springfield, Ohio.
  • Paccar (Kenworth/Peterbilt): Paccar has resumed production, but they are not allowing customers to buy in bulk so they do not run low on supplies.
  • Rush Truck Centers: The company remains open for business while most support employees are working from home.
  • Valley Strong: Business is operating as normal. They have new and used vehicles available from Ford, Freightliner, Hino, Isuzu, and Western Star.
  • Volvo: Volvo has restarted low-level production at the New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virgina.
Our network of transporters is fully operational and accepting new assignments.Last Updated: August 11, 10:00. EST
  • AAA: AAA is unable to perform any deliveries with tag and title due to DMV closures, but they are able to pick up and deliver vehicles without them. They are monitoring the situation with DMVs.
  • Acertus: Acertus is reporting some constraints in transportation capacity and disruptions in service due to DMV closures. However, they say that the disruption has been contained and their transportation network is active.
  • American Transportation Company: They remain open for business. Drivers are taking extra precautions by sanitizing all high-touch surfaces on vehicles. Delays are likely due to shutdowns at state and local levels effecting licensing and titling.
  • Auto Driveaway: Auto Driveaway remains open for business, and they are able to issue temporary tags on any weight vehicle. If customers have vehicles in excess of 26,000 lbs, they can issue a 30-day Virginia temporary tag, which is extended for an additional 60 days with the DMV grace period in that stateDrivers are taking extra precautions by sanitizing all high-touch surfaces on vehicles. Delays are likely due to shutdowns at state and local levels, effecting licensing and titling.
  • Cassens Transport. Cassens is operating but on a very limited scale. The terminal in Belvidere, Illinois is temporarily shutting down on April 6 until further notice.
  • IMT Logistics. IMT reports that the only service disruptions that are experiencing are due to DMV closures.
  • MAMO: Remains open for business, but they have stopped pickups and deliveries in the five New York boroughs. They are seeing delays in licensing due to DMV shutdowns. They are actively tracking all deliveries that were done without plates due to DMV closures, and they are monitoring all states to see when they reopen so they can get hard plates in customer hands as quickly as possible.
  • PARS: PARS remains operational with all office staff telecommuting through at least May 31st. All states have begun opening in some capacity. However, many businesses including storage facilities and detail ships, as well as motor vehicle departments, remain closed for operating on a limited schedule creating the potential for case-by-case delays. PARS is monitoring orders previously on hold due to closures or restrictions. They are emailing customers as circumstances change.
  • Ready Logistics: Most states view transportation as an essential business, but there are restrictions in certain jurisdictions.
  • TSOA: Remains open for business and are currently working on a continuity plan. They have not encountered any high degree occurrences that would terminate their abilities to pursue deliveries in a timely manner. They are unable to issue temporary tags in Georgia, Massachusetts, Georgia, Hawaii, Texas, and Washington DC.
Last Updated: August 11, 10:00. ESTOur vendor network is functioning. Some local vendors have implemented their business continuity plans and are operating with reduced hours. Some collision repair and glass replacement vendors are reporting issues with sourcing OEM parts as a result of plant and dealer closures. The disruption has not been a major challenge yet, but we expect it to create more of an impact as the shutdowns continue. The ARI team is monitoring this situation closely.There have not been any widespread closures of facilities aside from Discount Tire locations on the west coast. Supply chain disruption remains a concern.
  • Belron: Belron is impacted by the governments of Quebec and Ontario imposing restrictions on business providing essential services. As a result of these restrictions and decreased volume, Belron is operating a limited network of service centres. Please visit their website for a current list of available locations.
  • Big O Tires: All locations are open for business.
  • Bridgestone: Bridgestone reopened commercial tire plants April 13 and consumer tire production has resumed.
  • CARSTAR: Most locations are working reduced schedules.
  • Firestone Bridgestone: Has closed two stores in South Carolina and one in Louisiana, and all other locations are now closing at 4:00 or 5:00 pm daily. They are beginning to implement curbside, no-contact service
  • Goodyear: Good year has extended their production shutdown indefinitely due to OEMs shutting production and dealerships closing or operating with less staff. They anticipate that current inventory levels will support the significantly diminished demand. Goodyear service centers are operating 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.Goodyear is also offering free DOT inspections to help keep fleets on theb road.
  • Honk: Continues to be fully operational, but stranded drivers are no longer permitted to ride with tow truck drivers.
  • Kal Tire: Kal Tire is providing service to light-duty fleet vehicles and commercial trucks at all locations by appoinment only. They are only "emergency only" work on non-essential personal vehicles / retail sales at a select number of locations, which have limited operating hours.
  • MAACO: Most locations are working reduced schedules.
  • Meineke: Most locations are working reduced schedules.
  • Michelin: Has also announced plant closures but said that current inventory levels will support demand. The are dedicating part of their production capabilities to manufacturing PPE masks and ventilators.
  • Midas: All locations are open for business.
  • Mr. Tire: Locations are closed on Saturdays.
  • NTB: All locations are open for business.
  • PACCAR: Continues to produce parts. Customers are not able to buy in bulk, but service centers are fully operational.
  • Pep Boys: Is reducing store hours nationwide.
  • Road America: Is asking drivers to request an Uber or Lyft in lieu of riding along in the tow truck.
  • Road Canada: Is asking drivers to request an Uber or Lyft in lieu of riding along in the tow truck.
  • Safelite: Safelite has lowered its vehicle cleaning fee to $15 from $25. Effective April 15, Safelite is charging a fee to conduct a thorough pre- and post-service disinfection to every surface a technician comes in contact with or near. This includes, but is not limited to: keys/key fob, door handles, steering wheel, hear shift, and dashboard. Their plan is to include this fee for the next six months and then reevaluate the need moving forward.In addition, Safelite has already implemented several other precautionary measures with technicians. They have been directed to smile and provide a thumbs-up rather than offer a handshake, waive the electronic signature for pre-inspection and service completion, and minimize the vehicle touchpoints during their service and provide the option for a customer contact-free experience. Per recommendation of the CDC, all customer-facing associates will wear a face covering, as well as be trained on cleaning the coverings following wear.
  • Take 5: Most locations are working reduced schedule where they are open 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, normal Saturday hours, and are closed on Sundays.
  • Tire Barn: Locations are closed on Saturdays.
  • Tire Kingdom: All locations are open for business.
  • Tire Warehouse: Locations are closed on Saturdays.
  • Uniban: Uniban has announced that it is now offering a mobile glas program in Quebec that includes ADAS calibration.
Last Updated: August 11, 10:00. ESTRental car providers are considered essential businesses and continue to be operational. There has been a significant decrease in demand.Some providers have closed some locations. They continue to have nationwide coverage, but vehicles may come from a farther distance and take longer to arrive.Companies should visit rental providers' websites for an up-to-date lists of locations.
Last Updated: August 11, 10:00. ESTFueling stations remain open and have been exempt from local closure orders. Our fuel card provider remains operational, including their ability to generate fuel cards.
COVID-19 and the corresponding government restrictions have had a profound impact on the used car market. Sellers, buyers, auction houses and transportation providers are adhering to the social distancing and infection prevention protocols recommended by the CDC. In certain markets, auctions and transporters are considered essential businesses and they continue to operate, although in somewhat limited capacities. There are some markets where auctions and transporters are not considered essential and in those cases our partners have been forced to temporarily cease operations.Last Updated: August 11, 10:00. EST
  • ARI Remarketing. ARI remarketing is operational with vehicles continuing to be available for sale on ARI’s online remarketing platforms.
  • KAR Global: KAR Global is running Simulcast-only sales at most of their U.S. and Canada locations until further notice as the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve. While sales will run at their regularly scheduled times, vehicles will not run through the lanes and dealers will not be allowed on the premises. Bids can be placed online via Simulcast on ADESA.com, ADESA.ca or the ADESA Marketplace app.
  • Kesler Schaffer: Kesler Schaffer auto auction has reopened simulcast sales.
  • Manheim: Manheim Hawaii resumed sales this week via Simulcast. The company is running Simulcast-only sales at most of its U.S. locations following the ongoing public health and safety concerns of COVID-19. Manheim’s physical auction locations and digital channels are operational to service buying and selling needs. During sale day, seller representatives will be allowed to represent their vehicles through online seller tools.
Last Updated: August 11, 10:00. EST

This information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. Fleet managers or drivers should contact their local motor vehicle departments for the latest information.

Provinces

Alberta

  • Ministry offices are open, with less staff, but they are still supporting our requests at this time
  • Driver's licenses, vehicle registrations and other permits and certificates expiry dates had an extension to May 15, 2020. All registrations/plates are required to be renewed and up to date as of today.

British Columbia

  • Offices are open
  • No adjustments or interruptions to service at this time

Manitoba

  • Offices are open
  • No adjustments or interruptions to service at this time

New Brunswick

  • Offices are open
  • No adjustments or interruptions to service at this time
  • Keep in mind this province takes up to 15 business days to process requests, due to working with skeleton staff
  • Note: Delays internal to ARI are occurring due to process changes put in place to comply with the social distancing standards

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Offices are open but working with reduced staff
  • No interruptions to service at this time
  • Keep in mind this province takes up to 15 business days to process requests, due to working with skeleton staff
  • Note: Delays internal to ARI are occurring due to process changes put in place to comply with the social distancing standards

Nova Scotia

  • All driver licenses and vehicle registrations expiring in March, April and May are extended until August 31st
  • Keep in mind this province takes up to 15 business days to process requests, due to working with skeleton staff
  • Note: Delays internal to ARI are occurring due to process changes put in place to comply with the social distancing standards

Ontario

  • The local Service Ontario Branch is still open to facilitate ARI's requests, they are closed to the Public, they remain open for dealers. Service Ontario is privately operated, there will be different offices opened based on demand in the specific area it operates.
  • Offices are working on a reduced staff
  • Driver's licenses, vehicle registrations and other permits and certificates expiry dates have been extended without specific expiry dates being provided
  • No interruptions to service at this time

Prince Edward Island

  • Offices open, but working on a reduced staff, requests are taking up to 15 business days
  • No extensions have been granted at this time

Quebec

  • The province has asked that drivers hold off on all provincial registrations and initial registrations until SAAQ offices begin to operate again
  • The SAAQ offices are open. Their first priority will be all outstanding expired plates renewed. There will be 3-4 day turnaround time for all Quebec License requests, as everything will be facilitated through the Mississauga Office. 
  • "Essential" services are described as the obtainment, renewal, and payment of a driver’s license for drivers of vehicles who work in sectors that are deemed essential and who require a driver’s license in order to carry out their work. It also includes knowledge, road tests for heavy vehicles, recovery of impounded vehicles.
  • Renewals for "F" plates (passenger plates) are not considered essential services for the SAAQ at this time. Therefore, the expiry date of March 31st will not be upheld and extended to September 1, 2020 or until the environment changes and all the SAAQ service outlets reopen. 
  • We will not be performing manual renewals for those registrations where we did not receive a renewal notice. If renewal notices are received, a cheque will still be sent to the ministry. However, for the remaining units that are not renewed, this will not be completed until the SAAQ opens up their service for non-essential requests.
  • We are also unable to perform replacement registration requests, province transfers and initial registrations at this time.

Saskatchewan

  • Offices are opened, but working on a reduced staff
  • No interruptions to service at this time

Northwest Territories

  • Offices are opened, but working on a reduced staff
  • Requests are taking up to 15 business days
  • No extensions have been granted at this time

Yukon

  • Offices are opened, but working on a reduced staff
  • Requests are taking up to 15 business days
  • No extensions have been granted at this time

Prevention Tips

Safety Tips for Fleet Drivers

ARI will continue to publish resources to help you mitigate the risk of COVID-19 on your employees.

Here are useful links to key COVID-19 resources for fleet teams and drivers:

As terms like “unprecedented” and the ever-present “new normal” firmly entrench themselves in our daily conversations, it’s refreshing to start this blog with two words that are familiar and commonplace in both ARI and Auto Truck’s vocabularies: resourceful and responsive.

Listening and responding to needs.

Many of our mutual clients operate fleets in industries deemed “essential,” and continued supporting their customers through the recent widespread shelter-in-place mandates. Through the course of regular phone and web calls with clients and prospects, the ARI, Auto Truck, and Kargo Master teams quickly picked up on the increasing fleet demand for a simple way to facilitate driver hygiene.

Even as restrictions continue loosening across the continent, businesses are still looking for practical ways to keep their drivers and customers as safe as possible moving forward. Simply put, fleets were looking for a mobile sanitation station.

Putting our resources to work – fast.

Luckily, we’ve “got a guy for that” when it comes to quality engineering and manufacturing. The engineering teams at Auto Truck and Kargo Master put their heads together and within a few weeks, designed and prototyped a sanitation solution that checked all the wish list boxes:

· Easy to mount and reconfigure for a variety of vehicle applications? Check.

· Holds all the necessary hygiene essentials in one place? Check.

· Includes a water supply tank? Check.

· Priced competitively? Check.

· Market ready in just a matter of weeks? Check.

The customer response was swift and overwhelmingly positive, and we forged ahead to begin the manufacturing process immediately. Here’s a sneak peek of the production version station, and visit Kargo Master for more images and details.

Building for the future

This seamless collaboration between Auto Truck and Kargo Master demonstrates how the combined expertise and agility of multiple Holman companies empowered us to develop and build a solution from scratch to sale in just two months. And because good things come in threes, I’ll leave you with one final “r” word – recovery.

As more businesses open their doors and kick-start activity, we’re working on more cost-effective product solutions to support fleet safety. Our teams are currently putting the finishing touches on a clear polycarbonate partition to reduce transmission of respiratory droplets. This shield has great promise for fleets that transport customers or operate with multi-person crews.

Think this may be a good fit for your fleet? Click to sign up for partition availability updates from Kargo Master and connect with your ARI and Auto Truck teams to start a conversation.

As terms like “unprecedented” and the ever-present “new normal” firmly entrench themselves in our daily conversations, it’s refreshing to start this blog with two words that are familiar and commonplace in both ARI and Auto Truck’s vocabularies: resourceful and responsive.

Listening and responding to needs.

Many of our mutual clients operate fleets in industries deemed “essential,” and continued supporting their customers through the recent widespread shelter-in-place mandates. Through the course of regular phone and web calls with clients and prospects, the ARI, Auto Truck, and Kargo Master teams quickly picked up on the increasing fleet demand for a simple way to facilitate driver hygiene.

Even as restrictions continue loosening across the continent, businesses are still looking for practical ways to keep their drivers and customers as safe as possible moving forward. Simply put, fleets were looking for a mobile sanitation station.

Putting our resources to work – fast.

Luckily, we’ve “got a guy for that” when it comes to quality engineering and manufacturing. The engineering teams at Auto Truck and Kargo Master put their heads together and within a few weeks, designed and prototyped a sanitation solution that checked all the wish list boxes:

· Easy to mount and reconfigure for a variety of vehicle applications? Check.

· Holds all the necessary hygiene essentials in one place? Check.

· Includes a water supply tank? Check.

· Priced competitively? Check.

· Market ready in just a matter of weeks? Check.

The customer response was swift and overwhelmingly positive, and we forged ahead to begin the manufacturing process immediately. Here’s a sneak peek of the production version station, and visit Kargo Master for more images and details.

Building for the future

This seamless collaboration between Auto Truck and Kargo Master demonstrates how the combined expertise and agility of multiple Holman companies empowered us to develop and build a solution from scratch to sale in just two months. And because good things come in threes, I’ll leave you with one final “r” word – recovery.

As more businesses open their doors and kick-start activity, we’re working on more cost-effective product solutions to support fleet safety. Our teams are currently putting the finishing touches on a clear polycarbonate partition to reduce transmission of respiratory droplets. This shield has great promise for fleets that transport customers or operate with multi-person crews.

Think this may be a good fit for your fleet? Click to sign up for partition availability updates from Kargo Master and connect with your ARI and Auto Truck teams to start a conversation.

The Road to Recovery

Recommendations on Getting Back to Businesses

Businesses are returning to work. ARI will be updating this section regularly with our experts’ thoughts on the impact that COVID-19 will have on fleets and strategies to help businesses recover.

What Are Your Recovery Plans?

ARI is regularly publishing recommendations for companies to navigate the road to recovery. Please fill out a brief, three-question poll about your fleet recovery plans. You will be able to immediately see how your results compare with other participants.

Take the poll.

Join our Virtual Learning Series

ARI is hosting a series of virtual learning events to discuss strategies intented to help organizations responding to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ARI’s team of fleet management experts will provide insight and guidance on several of today’s most complex challenges emerging following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Used Vehicle Market: What We Know Today About Tomorrow
Thursday, July 30 at 1:00 pm EST
Forecasting market conditions can be difficult even during the best of times, let alone during a period of unprecedented economic uncertainty. Fortunately, through a combination of analytics, past experience, and industry expertise, the state of the used vehicle market can become clearer. During this session, attendees will hear from industry experts as they share their thoughts on access to used vehicle sales channels, near- and medium-term outlook for specific vehicle classes, and historic markets and learnings for today’s climate.

Fleet 2020: What You Need to Know
Tuesday, September 8 at 12:00 pm EST
Co-presented with NAFA, the Fleet 2020 webinar will feature industry thought leaders focusing on critical fleet issues and struggles. From expanding delivery cycles, the uncertain resale market, telematics adoption, and preventative maintenance, this session will address key challenges and provide thoughtful insights to help fleet operators navigate the weeks and months ahead.

It’s been a scary few months, and we’re not out of the pandemic-and-recession woods yet. Still, the resilience and innovation demonstrated throughout our industry and others is truly inspiring, like sunshine breaking through the leaves.

As you plan for the coming months, this is the ideal time to evaluate your cash and funding needs.

Follow our decision tree to plan the smoothest route forward.

Read the blog

It’s been a scary few months, and we’re not out of the pandemic-and-recession woods yet. Still, the resilience and innovation demonstrated throughout our industry and others is truly inspiring, like sunshine breaking through the leaves.

As you plan for the coming months, this is the ideal time to evaluate your cash and funding needs.

Follow our decision tree to plan the smoothest route forward.

Read the blog

Do you remember it? That “oh no” moment (although you may have opted for a different word than “no”) when you realized that COVID-19 was going to cause a serious tsunami for your fleet?

Whether your industry experienced a surge or drop off in demand, you probably spent the last several months treading uncertain water. It seems like the floods are receding now, and as things settle, you’re realizing the currents have been intense and the swells deep.

Need some help resetting your compass?

To find your direction, you can rely on the four cardinal segments of your fleet vehicle lifecycle to point the way: buy, drive, service, and sell. Here are some simple ways to revisit your pandemic fleet practices as the continent slowly reopens, plus some convenient links back to our original articles for each part of the cycle.

BUY – The OEM factory closures threw off your vehicle replacement schedule as well as your budget plans. Depending on your company’s current position, you may have elected to freeze your ordering cycle and move that allocated capital into reserve.

With factories open again, are you ready to order vehicles? If so, leasing is a viable option for reducing your upfront capital expenditure.

To learn more, read COVID Cost Control: How will you navigate the capital expenditure tightrope?

DRIVE – Depending on your business, if demand for your vehicles went up, you should be leaning more on the newer, lower mileage vehicles. They’ll ensure reliability and efficiency at a time when every penny counts.

However, if utilization dropped and you parked some of your older, higher-cost units, now’s the time to figure out if you need to bring them back into active service or remarket them.

To learn more, read COVID Cost Control: Put Your Operating Costs in Park.

SERVICE – If vehicle demand has remained high, sticking to your preventive maintenance schedule is more important than ever. It’s the best way to deter component failures that will prematurely take your vehicles out of service.

But if your analytics showed below-normal utilization, you may have temporarily extended your PM intervals to route money back into your company’s stretched budget. It’s time to evaluate if business is picking back up enough to consider reinstating your regular schedule.

To learn more, read COVID Cost Control: Exploring maintenance and repair strategies during a pandemic.

SELL – Your vehicles are company assets, and you can sell them as part of a short-term strategy to reduce fixed expenses or increase cash flow.

Before selling underutilized assets, remain mindful of any increasing demand for those vehicles as conditions are turning around. You don’t want to be caught shorthanded, especially with factories operating at limited capacity or if your upfitted vehicles require longer build and delivery timeframes.

To learn more, read: COVID Cost Control: Avoid these three mistakes when liquidating assets

Grab an oar and row to shore

As you climb out of your short-term pandemic pace, and into a fleet recovery plan, revisit the conservative solutions you implemented at the onset of COVID-19 for allocating your capital and making the smartest use of your vehicles. Through flexibility and innovative thinking, you can steer your strategy toward calmer seas on the economic horizon.

For fleet and auto industry updates, you can refer to ARI’s COVID-19 SUPPORT resource center.

As the world slowly transitions into pandemic recovery mode, organizations like yours are assessing the current and lasting effects on customer activity, future business opportunities, and the corresponding bottom line impact.

If your business has slowed significantly, your biggest challenge may be a shortage of cash to pay your bills. On the other hand, if your business is struggling to keep up with a heightened pace, you may be searching for capital to acquire resources that can help meet increased demand. And if you’re somewhere in between, you’re likely reassessing your strategic plans to ensure your business is prepared for what’s next and the changes it may necessitate.

Restrictions are slowly being lifted, and more businesses are opening each day. As the world begins to establish what this next phase is going to look like, do you know what your financial recovery plans look like? Do you want to recreate the success you were experiencing prior to COVID-19, or do you have new aspirations? But before you try answering these questions about your future, let's first talk about where your company stands today. 

Your rebuild plan needs a strong foundation

Your financial recovery plan depends heavily on how much your organization was impacted by the pandemic. While it's tempting to jump straight to planning for a better tomorrow, you're skipping the critical step of assessing where you are right now. Laying a solid foundation for your recovery strategy involves:

Let's take a closer look at these building blocks. 

Unlocking capital from your existing assets

Even if your organization had a strong credit rating prior to the COVID pandemic, you may have trouble acquiring new credit or extending existing credit. This is the case for thousands of businesses as lenders tighten the reins to preserve their own liquidity.

Until the economy stabilizes, carefully review your access to capital and ensure you have diversified sources of that capital. Your fleet may provide an opportunity to turn the equity of your vehicles into cash, which can help keep existing or add new vehicles in service for your company. In addition, this equity can possibly pay for fuel, maintenance, and other fleet related costs. If your needs extend beyond your fleet, accessing this equity will allow you to reinvest this capital into other parts of your business.

To unlock this equity, start with assessing the values of your owned vehicles, trailers and equipment. Then repeat that same assessment for your leased and funded assets.

OWNED ASSETS

  • Sell any vehicles and equipment that are aged, costly, or underutilized.
  • Consider a sale/leaseback. The leasing company sends you a check for the current market value of  your assets, then leases those assets back to you for their remaining service life.

LEASED ASSETS

  • Evaluate if the lease terms are appropriate with shifting business conditions and possible changes to come.
  • Assess your funded and open-end lease units to measure the difference in asset market values and current book value. If this difference is positive, evaluate if you can enter into a transaction to take advantage of this equity in those assets.
  • For full service and closed-end leases, consider the alternatives of either entering into a new, longer lease term or exploring a new lower payment. Work with your current provider or consider changing to an open-end model.

Assessing your funding strategy

This is a good time to assess your overall funding strategy, including the funding related to your fleet and equipment assets. Should you fund all your vehicles, or just a few? Should the leases be open or closed? Fixed or float? Short or long term?

The economy is undergoing a major change, and we have no way of assessing if the worst is over. A smart approach is to be prepared going forward with plans for both positive and negative scenarios for your company. This is an opportunity for you to explore options for making more efficient use of your capital.

Open end leasing is a flexible funding option that can be structured to meet your company’s needs. It can help you diversify your funding partners and ensure you are being efficient in the use of capital that may be needed for other business needs, especially if other areas have limited access to capital.

Right now, leasing rates are low, which makes this an ideal time to lock in favorable rates for longer-term vehicles and equipment. Some of the industries that can reap great benefits from vehicle leasing right now are state and local governments, utilities, and last-mile delivery companies, among many others.

Moving to the next level

Once you've completed these steps, you're on solid footing to begin identifying your near- and long-term measures of financial success, and anticipating any challenges that can pose roadblocks. To make good and long-lasting decisions, we recommend a team approach and include members from your accounting, treasury, finance, operations, and fleet teams. You should also look for guidance from the senior leaders steering your organization’s long-term goals.

ARI is ready to help. We have fleet management and leasing experts ready and prepared to advise you on the current market trends. We have helped many companies during this pandemic and are happy to share more information on how companies are dealing with the same challenges as you. 

Learn how your vehicle equity can work better for you by downloading our short Sale and Leaseback eBook. Interested in exploring this option further? One of our fleet specialists can help. And as always, please check our COVID Resource Center for the latest industry updates.

Before COVID-19 came to town, your business had organizational objectives that your fleet operation played a critical role in achieving, such as budget compliance, productivity metrics, customer satisfaction, profit, and so forth.

In light of the pandemic, you’re likely now facing a vastly different budget scenario, your replacement schedule will need adjusting based on availability (and that budget, too), you’ve had to tune your preventive maintenance plans, and so forth.

So where do you start? How can you carefully balance your “then” with your “now” as you look ahead? This are questions posed by other fleet professionals just like you as OEM factories are reopening and a number of states loosen their shelter-in-place mandates.

Take a fresh look at fleet basics

Although “normal” feels like a lifetime ago in so many ways, as you build a fleet recovery plan, it’s still important to revisit best practice building blocks and original business priorities as you move toward your newly defined operating state.

While some practices may not be achievable due to current conditions, others will serve as beacons of normalcy for your fleet. Below are some questions to consider as you’re mapping out your pandemic recovery plan.

1. Financial Decisions

  • Is your fleet overseen by one team who enforces a single policy and uniform processes across the board, or do fleet management practices vary by region or leader?
  • Do you annually review and update your fleet management roadmap, or does planning occur on a more reactive basis?
  • Have you consolidated to a single fleet management company or do you have more than one company managing various aspects of your fleet?
  • What department does fleet report to – Finance? HR? Operations? Procurement? Risk/Safety? Sales? Itself? All of the above?
  • How much of your daily workload is spent on fleet?
  • COVID-19 Considerations: How have fleet oversight processes and funding decisions been affected by COVID-19? What was a short-term adjustment, and what needs to continue into the foreseeable future?

2. Supply Chain

  • Are your vehicle specs and upfits standardized based on job function and/or business need?
  • Do you review your selector annually to ensure the vehicles are still meeting your priorities for budget and performance?
  • How many vehicles do you get from dealer stock? Have you fully explored opportunities for OEM incentives?
  • COVID-19 Considerations: Do any of your specs need revision based on short-term utilization decisions and/or budgetary changes? How will you adjust your order quantities?

3. Connected Vehicles

  • Do you have telematics devices in some or all of your vehicles to track driver behavior, vehicle performance, optimization, etc.? What was the primary reason for this decision?
  • Are you able to see all of your vehicles and analyze all of your fleet expenses in one resource, or do you need to piece together data from various systems to achieve a consolidated perspective?
  • COVID-19 Considerations: Do any units need to be reactivated? How will the pandemic’s impact on your business affect any future telematics rollouts?

4. Driver Safety

  • Do you run Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs) each time you hire a driver and then again annually? Do you then assign driver training based on the MVR?
  • Do you have a real-time method of assessing driver risk and assigning relevant training?
  • COVID-19 Considerations: How will personnel changes made during the pandemic impact MVRs and training assignments?

5. Cost Containment

  • Do you have controlled authorization of maintenance and repairs?
  • Do you control fuel expenses with card restrictions and fraud detection?
  • Do you allow employees to use company vehicles for personal use? If so, do you collect a personal use charge?
  • COVID-19 Considerations: Did you make any maintenance parameter changes in response to utilization fluctuations? Is this the right time to re-evaluate?

6. Vehicle Downtime

  • Do you coordinate new vehicle orders with OEM production schedules to ensure delivery when you need them?
  • Do you have someone checking maintenance purchase orders for excessive or redundant work on the same vehicles that takes them off the road?
  • COVID-19 Considerations: How will you adjust planned orders and replacements as a result of any short-term utilization and liquidation decisions?

7. Capital Forecasting

  • Do you enforce a formal vehicle replacement policy? What are the criteria you use for replacement decisions (vehicle selector, driving pattern, operation, etc.)?
  • Do you maintain a consistent annual budget for vehicle replacements?
  • COVID-19 Considerations: How will you adjust your replacement strategy moving forward? Do you need to revisit your funding options?

8. Vehicle Remarketing

  • What index do you use to measure your used vehicle sales performance?
  • Do you allow employees to purchase used company vehicles?
  • COVID-19 Considerations: Did you liquidate any underutilized or aged vehicles in the last few months? How will changes in the used vehicle market impact your remarketing plans in the next few weeks and months?

 

Build your new fleet foundation

With the right tools and partner, you can better position your fleet to successfully align with business demand, and identify opportunities to restore best practices where possible.

Whether you’re a fleet veteran or someone who’s suddenly found themselves in this new role, ARI can help you evaluate your fundamental fleet structure to ensure your pandemic recovery plan will optimize efficiencies, control costs and mitigate risk for your fleet’s future. As you’re planning for the coming months, weigh in on our newest Road to Fleet Recovery poll to share your thoughts and instantly see responses from other participants.

As your organization continues to adapt and respond to the uncertainty of COVID-19, here are four opportunities to get started on controlling your fleet’s operating costs. And be sure to stay tuned to our blog for additional information on these cost control strategies in the coming weeks.

Remember the days when you talked about ways to innovate and “think outside the box” with your fleet partners and industry colleagues? With the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no more box. Simple as that.

Today, fleet professionals are quickly learning how to perform a variety of planning acrobatics. While some businesses have slowed to a partial or full standstill, others are facing unprecedented growth and opportunity. Regardless of which scenario is playing out for your organization, we’re all facing the same challenge of navigating uncharted territory when it comes to vehicle expenses and allocated capital.

Starting from scratch…temporarily.

Now that you’ve addressed immediate fleet needs, such as driver distancing policies and vehicle cleaning procedures, it’s time to start looking ahead. The state of your industry, customer activity, and your company’s financial status will influence your next move. Are you trying to keep up with increased demand placed on your vehicles? Or are you facing the opposite challenge, where a slower business pace means that many of your vehicles aren’t fully utilized at the moment?

Your answer will help focus your short-term capital expenditure plan. With “closed until further notice” signs hanging on the doors of North American vehicle factories, now is a good time to build your temporary strategy.

Pay now, or pay later?

Your fleet’s capital expenses and operating expenses are always closely intertwined, and you’re familiar with maintaining a careful balance that works for your business. But that ideal replacement strategy you carefully ironed out is now freshly wrinkled thanks to the unplanned shutdown of OEM manufacturing.

How do you balance supporting your customers and protecting capital in the short-term, without mortgaging your fleet’s long-term position? The answer depends heavily on your organization’s unique circumstances and financial status. While you’re waiting for production to start up, consider the first decision you’ll need to make.

So how can you address your immediate challenges without creating a future budgetary nightmare? Here are some additional actions to consider during your decision process:
  • Explore leasing as a way to reduce upfront capital expenditures. If your business usually prefers to purchase vehicles, leasing can help avoid increased operating costs and downtime even in the face of reduced capital availability.
  • Narrow your replacement scope. Prioritize the vehicles that pose the most risk to your operating cost budget, and make the most of your available capital.
  • Quantify value of liquidating underutilized assets. Injecting capital into your business to help weather current financial challenge is always an attractive option, but make sure you understand any temporary variations in the resale market.
  • Watch operating costs for aged and high-mileage vehicles. These are the vehicles you would have normally cycled out by now, whether you place orders or not. These vehicles can lead to trouble in the form of increased operating expenses.
  • Factor in the lower cost of fuel. While fuel prices are low now, once global markets bounce back, the cost to operate your older vehicles will increase as well. If you opt to keep these vehicles in service, you’ll need to account for the increased expense.

The assembly lines are rolling, but fleets will still need to navigate hazards

In the three weeks since Automotive Fleet hosted a webinar on how COVID-19 has impacted fleet ordering and deliveries, manufacturers have started taking their positions at the (re)start line. That means good things for fleet management companies and upfitters like ARI and Auto Truck Group.

Starting engines in May...literally

At the beginning of this month, the global auto industry took its first steps toward restarting production as China announced it would start manufacturing auto parts again. This news was promptly followed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer giving parts makers the go-ahead to restart their factories on May 11.

When it comes to the supply chain, timing is everything. By kicking off the reopening process with auto parts, the OEM assembly lines will have critical supplies in hand as they roll forward. Accommodating that one-week head start, Ford Motor Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors reopened plants on May 18. Also opened the first half of the month: BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, and Volvo.

On all accounts, the factories have implemented United Auto Workers (UAW) employee safety protocols and screening procedures using CDC and OSHA guidelines. Some corporate personnel continue to work from home while some plants are operating with reduced shifts. So while factories are opening, production capacity will be lower than normal as employee and customer health remains top priority.

What happens once the green flag waves?

The good news is that vehicles will soon be rolling off the line, and Auto Truck Group will have their chassis inventories replenished; this also means that managing your replacement cycle will get better from here. The bad news (well, maybe just “not-so-good” news) is that you’ll still have to be aware of any caution flags on the track ahead. Let’s take a closer look at the current factors, how they may impact your timing and budget, and when to consult with your fleet management pit crew:

Ordering

  • Fleets are top priority. Knowing the commercial demand will be greater initially than retail demand, the OEMs have expressed their commitment to prioritize fleet orders. This would be a good start, with conditions in your favor.
  • Model years are in flux. The OEMs’ goals are to build all orders received, but with new model year changeover approaching so quickly, there’s a chance that your 2020MY orders could be cancelled and replaced with 2021 models. If that happens, be prepared for these potential outcomes:
    • You could be facing longer lead times due to high demand, possibly up to 5-6 weeks.
    • Your volume incentives may be impacted. Depending on your OEM agreement, you could experience a shortfall for 2020 incentive but a windfall for 2021.
    • New model year prices typically increase two to three percent. You should carefully evaluate 2021 vehicle and options prices compared to 2020 models. If there is a larger than standard price increase, will the OEMs release options from packages to offset the increases prices?

Upfitting

  • Upfitters are ready to build. With OEM production ramping up, upfitters like Auto Truck Group are getting an influx of vehicles and chassis to build on.
  • Filling the pools. Bailment pool inventories for producing standardized vehicles will be replenished.

Transportation

  • Transport is moving again. The backlog of stranded vehicles produced prior to the plant shutdowns are slowly, steadily being transported for delivery. You can track them via delivery status updates. The same goes for upfit vehicles waiting to be transported.
  • Make time to talk. Communication is key as many new parties are stepping in to carry the load.

Licensing

  • Extensions are ongoing. For the most part, expiration dates on vehicle registrations and temporary tags continue to be extended 30-60 days, depending on the state.

Delivery

  • Continue planning ahead. If a dealership is open, it’s mostly service staff onsite, so getting pre-delivery inspections completed or finding someone who can facilitate a delivery is a chore. The best strategies are tenacity and continuous follow up, but even then might not be enough if your drivers can only step foot inside a dealership with an appointment.

Important tools to keep close at hand

Until OEM production, upfitting, transportation, licensing and delivers are operating at a normal pace, you may still need some mid-term recovery strategies. Avoid reactive maneuvers and instead regroup with your strategic partners like ARI and Auto Truck to use your own data to plan temporary solutions. Here are some things to keep in mind along the way:

  • Out of stock purchases may not be available due to dealership closings or low inventory. If demand goes up while inventory is down, prices may increase.
  • Buying low-mileage used vehicles that are still under warranty is a potential recovery tactic.
  • Short-term rentals could also get you over the hump.
  • Be cautious when liquidating vehicles. You may wish you retained them as demand rebounds.
  • If the used vehicle market remains soft, look at extending your leases.
  • If you leave vehicles in service past their scheduled replacement date, keep a close eye on their operating costs.
  • Review your fleet for underutilized vehicles to replace older, higher cost ones.

Keep your eyes on the finish line

The best attitude for a positive outlook is knowing all of this is temporary, and we’re already seeing signs of recovery. Don’t get bogged down in the short-term difficulties – stay focused on your recovery plans and long-term measurements for winning.

If you need more help evaluating your fleet needs, ARI and Auto Truck are here for you. We can help you track order status and adjust upfitting approaches to ensure you have the vehicles and operational strategies needed to get your company past the checkered flag of recovery.

After months of disruption, the automotive supply chain is beginning to get back in gear but the unprecedented shutdown across the industry has skewed traditional ordering cycles. Some businesses were forced to cancel new vehicle orders due to financial uncertainty while others scrambled to find any available vehicle amidst the closures to keep up with increased demand.

Now, as we approach the traditional ordering season, many organizations are faced with adjusting their acquisition strategy on-the-fly. And just like revising your summer itinerary, you’ll need to be mindful of avoiding costly spec’ing and ordering detours.

Here are three common spec’ing and ordering hazards that could cause you to miss your exit to recovery

Read the blog

With the entire world feeling so out of alignment these days, you’d think every link in your vehicle supply chain would be taking a beating too, right? Here’s the good news – many truck and equipment upfitters are operating at normal capacity or very close to it for now. How and when those conditions will change ultimately depends on other links, such as chassis and material availability, in your particular chain.

So what can you do right now? Developing a short-term plan for your Q2 upfit orders is your best strategy for fulfilling your company’s immediate vehicle and equipment needs. Then you’ll need a long-term approach for Q3 that addresses your 2020 recovery plans and sets up your company for the 2021 ordering cycle.

Let’s walk through the order-to-delivery steps to understand where the industry stands now, and figure out where you may need to adjust your future approach.

Orders

Can you believe that 80 percent of all North American automakers stepped offline the third week of March? We’re all hoping that production starts back up in May, but the decision to reopen for each OEM depends on public health conditions and how the factories plan to provide proper health protection for their workforce.

Don’t panic, and definitely don’t throw out your 2020 replacement schedule. Use it as your new starting point, adjusting as needed to align with the fleet demand you’re seeing right now. Is it going up or coming down? Whatever it may be, you may need to move orders out, delay some deliveries, and be ready for even more sudden changes.

When the assembly lines get moving again, it’s been said the OEMs plan to build all the orders they got before they shut down, and fleet orders will be at the top of their work piles. You should know, there’s a chance that orders for 2020 models could get bumped up to 2021 models. If you still need your Q2 orders to go through, you may be thankful to take whatever year is available as long as the vehicle overall meets your needs. Think of this as a short-term solution – part of your recovery strategy. Then make plans to talk with industry experts about your 2021 selector, to make sure your orders for next year are spot on for your fleet needs.

Upfitting

So far, most upfitters haven’t felt a huge hit by the OEM factories closing. That’s because they are still working with either the custom orders or pool vehicles that were already in-house when the pandemic hit.

But you could run into trouble if a key supplier cannot supply your upfitter with parts for your vehicles and equipment. Your upfitter may have to come up with another option, relying on their engineers to see what else can be done. Unfortunately, if there’s only that one solution for your truck, you might have to wait a little longer. The upfitter will work with you to reset your delivery time frame and make every honest effort to get it done.

Aside from those one-off parts issues, until the standard inventory of vehicles, equipment and other materials dries up, upfitters can keep building. So for the short-term, there’s still a possibility your new vehicle upfit needs can be met. However, if the factories do not reopen before the upfitters’ inventories run out, that’s when you’ll feel the long-term impact. You may have to go back to the drawing board with your fleet partner’s engineers and analysts to sketch out a long-term plan for your new “not what I originally planned” normal.

In the meantime, you should be extra vigilant with your providers to fully understand what you are getting and when you are getting it. You don’t want any decisions to turn into unexpected surprises and the wrong vehicles and equipment. Everyone is coping with the disruptions, and it’s great when you can be flexible and patient right now, but you still need to retain as much of your business operations as possible. Your company is relying on you to keep the fleet strong through the recovery stage. If you need those specialized vehicles to get you there, hang in and push for what you need

Delivery

Third-party transportation companies are stepping it up big time right now. They are grabbing what they can from the OEMS; they’re filling the void for railcars; they are working with upfitters and also filling gaps for dealerships whose operations are iffy. With many new players in the supply chain, everyone’s intentions are good, but the communication chain can experience some hiccups.

Stay in constant contact with your providers! Track your vehicles through every stage of the delivery process and ask as many questions as you need to if things start looking off track. Yes, delays will happen, but keeping everyone’s expectations in check is the key to staying organized and in control.

The link holding the chain together

So many things are out of our control these days. Looking at the big picture, the state of the auto industry plays a critical role in North American economies. Everyone is anticipating the day that the OEMs will open their doors; for everyone it will signify a big step away from this craziness. Realistically, when that happens, a bottleneck will form, probably as Q2 rolls into Q3.

Upfitters understand this and the challenges that you are facing with unexpected spikes or drops in your need for vehicles. Everyone keeps saying “we’re in this together.” You hear it everywhere, and that includes the upfitting industry who are committed to supporting your personal and professional wellbeing.

Communication is the link that helps hold your supply chain together. Your upfitters can help you manage short-and long-term goals by working seamlessly with your fleet partners on your ordering, upfitting, and vehicle management needs. When upfitters are right in there with your FMC, you’ll get faster answers, avoid fumbling, and mitigate delays.

And, there’s an upside. Today’s coping techniques are setting the stage for a better tomorrow via rapid innovation. Upfitters are seeing how video calls can speed up pilot reviews and design feedback sessions – and they cost a lot less and take up much less time than everyone traveling everywhere. We’re all going to emerge from the coronavirus as stronger, more agile people and companies.

What does the future look like?

It’s hard to tell how short short-term planning will last and when specifically we’ll transition to the recovery stage. The common phrase these days when looking toward the future is “in stages.”

Your ARI team is here to support you, and help reinforce the links in your chain through communication with your key suppliers.

About a month ago, we tried to offer some perspective on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the used car market while also examining how previous economic downturns may help provide a road map for what lies ahead. So what’s changed during the last four weeks or so? Luckily, for all of us, the answer is a lot.

The Road We’ve Traveled

When we look in the rear view mirror, we see the market highs of February in the distance. The pandemic initially disrupted the used car market in early March, tempering demand and slightly depressing market values. By the end of April, the impact of the pandemic was significantly more pronounced. Prices had declined by approximately 15-18% from February’s highs as many auctions and dealerships were forced to temporarily close and transition to online sales.

Fortunately, as the calendar turned to May, the automotive industry started to stabilize. Many auctions and dealerships worked to establish protocols for reopening and manufacturers took steps towards restarting production as shelter-in-place restrictions were eased in many regions. Today, the majority of dealerships and auctions have resumed in-person sales and new vehicles are beginning to roll off the assembly line (although production capacity remains lower than normal).

So what does this all mean for the used car market and its recovery?

We’re Picking Up Speed

The positive momentum continues to build as overall economic conditions trend in the right direction. As dealerships and other businesses across the country continue to reopen, we’re certainly seeing a significant shift in buyer sentiment.

During the last several weeks, many consumers has received stimulus checks and tax refunds, providing a much needed catalyst for the retail segment of the industry. Consumers are beginning to buy vehicles again, driving the market and, in turn, increasing demand for wholesale units. The uncertainly of the spring has given way to a summer of optimism; and market data echoes this sentiment.

Here’s a closer look at the road that led up to now:

While there is still some level of uncertainty ahead, the good news is that we’ve likely seen the worst of the market volatility. In all likelihood, it is safe to expect these positive trends to continue – and perhaps even improve further – as we move into the summer months. However, it’s important to keep in mind that despite these positive signs, there’s still work to be done.

Proceed with Caution

Cautious optimism is a phrased that has been often used to describe various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic and that same feeling also applies to the current state of the used car market.

Although buyer sentiment and key metrics show the used car market is headed in the right direction, the pandemic resulted in an extremely deep valley. We also need to be mindful that it is unlikely to be a seamless recovery and there will certainly be bumps in the road. One of the biggest X factors we’re currently monitoring is how rental car companies will respond to the dramatic declines in utilization.

The scale of rental car fleets in North America is measured in millions. With the demand for these units down an estimated 60-80%, there are thousands of vehicles sitting idle and not generating revenue. Further complicating the matter is the uncertainty surrounding how these businesses will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic; will there be mass a mass sell-off of assets? What will happen to vehicle values in these asset classes? Will the risk of bankruptcies grow?

All of these are great questions but without a crystal ball, we need to consider several “what if” scenarios:

  • If there are additional bankruptcies or this sector of the industry fails to return to pre-pandemic levels, we should expect to negative pricing pressure as these fleets look to right size and address utilization trends.
  • Conversely, OEM production has slowed significantly during the pandemic and as a result, many 2020 model year vehicles have been cancelled. This lost production may help to offset any potential oversupply as if/when these companies begin to right size their fleets.

It is also important to keep in mind that rental car fleets are typically comprised of late-model vehicles that are popular with consumers – sedans, crossovers, SUVs, etc. – so the impact to vocational fleets that often feature a large number of complex trucks and vans would likely be minimal.

Record unemployment, an extremely high volume of used vehicles in the market, unpredictable long-term demand, and the potential of a COVID-19 resurgence all loom as additional potential threats to the market’s recovery. But without hesitation, I believe it is safe to say that the used car market is no longer reacting to the uncertainty of the pandemic but rather well on its road to recovery.

Again I’d like to offer the same advice from my previous blog; don’t overreact (positively or negatively) but remain agile. As this recovery continues, adjust accordingly to potential detours along the way but always do so with an eye towards your long-term destination.

Be sure to stay tuned to ARI’s blog for the latest updates and strategies for recovery as the fleet industry continues to emerge from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, please visit ARI’s COVID-19 Resource Center and subscribe for weekly or daily updates via email.

If your industry and business have been severely impacted by the pandemic, you may be facing difficult decisions involving your fleet as you work to overcome trying economic conditions. If you’re faced with decreased demand or halted operations, this is the time to remain agile and look for creative solutions to help sustain your business now without sacrificing future success.

When revenues are down and cash flow has slowed, selling some of your vehicles and equipment is a plausible, short-term option for reducing your fixed expenses and generating much needed capital. If you are ready to create a plan, you need to determine how to choose which vehicles and equipment will go, and make certain you’re prepared for the long-term effects.

Are you asking the right questions to achieve your goals?

Your strategy for liquidating your vehicle and equipment inventory should address two key goals: to eliminate a portion of your operating expenses, and to maximize returns. However, there’s a third factor to keep in mind as well – be mindful of inadvertently driving up operating costs associated with aged vehicles.

As you look to reduce your fleet size, you’ll want to avoid shifting too much of your operational burden onto your older, more costly assets. Here are three common mistakes to avoid, and three questions to ask instead

AVOID: Selling vehicles that are still useful to your business in the long run.

ASK: How often are the vehicles DRIVEN?

Vehicles that are in high demand are likely helping you generate revenue. You don’t want to interrupt that prosperity, so if you have to dispose of active vehicles, go for the older or higher mileage vehicles and equipment that are utilized less.

Since these older units are no longer operating in prime condition, they are likely incurring higher expenses for fuel and maintenance compared to newer, more efficient vehicles. Cut those excess costs by retiring these units, particularly those in a positive equity position.

AVOID: Finding your fleet shorthanded when business ramps up.

ASK: How soon will DEMAND rebound?

Before prioritizing any vehicles or equipment for resale, consider when your company will feel any pain associated with selling these units. Although a lot of uncertainty remains, try to anticipate how quickly demand may ramp up once economic conditions begin to improve. You don’t want to be caught shorthanded. In some cases, you may want to consider parking certain vehicles and equipment instead of selling them. Temporarily parking your higher-cost assets can help lower operating costs without reducing your inventory, ensuring you have vehicles ready as business returns to normal.

AVOID: Selling quickly without a value-based strategy.

ASK: How many DOLLARS can you recoup?

You can reduce fixed expenses by selling leased vehicles if their resale value exceeds the amount owed. Also, selling owned assets is an easy way to generate cash from sale proceeds. You should look for a resale partner with expertise in assessing the current used vehicle market to help determine the value of your vehicles and equipment, especially when conditions are highly disrupted like they are right now.

Most importantly – ask for help

If you’re not sure where to start, or if you’ve complied an initial list of assets for potential sale, ARI can help. We can advise which vehicles and equipment can yield the greatest returns in light of current market trends, and help you explore strategies for your specific needs, including quick asset liquidation for immediate cash infusion when you need it most

As your organization continues to adapt and respond to the uncertainty of COVID-19, let us help you explore creative ways to streamline your operating costs in a way that works for your unique circumstances, and ultimately position your business for a brighter tomorrow.

As governments across the globe work on mapping out potential paths back to normalcy, people are coming together (virtually, of course) more than ever. We’re all facing a diverse range of challenges at the moment. Some are entering their second or third month of working remotely, others are still out in the field delivering essential services, and many are dealing with the challenges of reduced hours and temporary furloughs due to closures. Despite these differences, we are united in the desire for a timely, safe return to more familiar lives.

If you’re already tackling initiatives to bolster your fleet and business health, and caring for yourself and your family, what’s next on the list? Consider putting those keen leadership skills to work toward giving your company’s emotional health a fresh boost! All it takes is an open heart and an extended hand to spark positive results for your business and the people that keep it running.

While your primary responsibility may revolve around vehicles, the fleet includes drivers and other employees, too. Happy employees translate into happy customers, so don’t hesitate to collaborate with your Human Resources and employee engagement counterparts to boost morale.

Check out the ideas below, and download this portable list to share with your colleagues:

Give your team something to feel good about

  • Overcoming challenges is something worth celebrating, so make time to recognize your team and colleagues daily. Simply maintaining our regular duties in the face of unprecedented hurdles is anything but regular, so acknowledge when you see others hanging tough!
  • Fostering a sense of teamwork is more important than ever. Many teams are split between working from home and working in the field, and it’s normal to feel disconnected right now. Pull those who work independently into a larger group and let them celebrate what everyone is achieving collectively, and find ways for essential workers to join in, too.

Help everyone feel connected and informed

  • Feeling out of the loop can increase peoples’ anxieties. Share whatever information you can about what’s happening across your organization so employees have an understanding of where they stand, and what may come next. A strong sense of confidence in communication channels can will mitigate fear of “being in the dark.”
  • “All work and no play…” makes quarantine feel super monotonous. You can break up the day by giving everyone the chance to talk, smile, and laugh about non-work related topics together. Use all the resources you can, from your company intranet to your social media channels, and video-based communication platforms.

Open the door and let others know you care

  • When you are brave enough to be transparent about your own circumstances, those around you will feel more secure opening up about what they’re facing throughout the day. Creating a compassionate environment through empathy can make it easier for others to reach out and connect with others who are experiencing similar challenges. Not everyone is comfortable engaging personally in the workplace, and that’s okay. Consider this the virtual equivalent of an “open door” that some will walk through, and others may take the cue but choose to confide in a friend or relative instead.
  • Your colleagues may want to reciprocate, so let them offer their support to you as well. In the end, you’ll strengthen your mutual respect and relationships.
  • If your company offers wellness tools like telemedicine or mental health support, remind team members that they are available. Also encourage people to connect with available resources for childcare, work-life balance, remote fitness classes, etc.

Click here for a PDF version of this infographic.

Focusing on tomorrow

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Relative to your fleet, you want to keep your drivers as safe and healthy as possible. You’ve likely shared plenty of fleet guidelines for driver distancing, vehicle sanitization, and remote practices, but ensuring everyone gets the emotional support they need is just as critical. By caring and spreading compassion in as many areas of your life as possible, including your workplace, you will strengthen relationships, others, and even yourself.

As you’re planning for the remainder of 2020, tap into your ARI resources. We’re analyzing what industry best practices may look like in the new normal, and can support you in adjusting your fleet spend, vehicle ordering, remarketing, and other areas to align with your company’s needs.

As we embark on the recovery process, you can find the latest industry information on ARI’s COVID-19 Resource Center, and subscribe for weekly or daily updates via email. Stay well and support others as we head toward a brighter tomorrow, together

When it comes to your business, we know that customers and the job at hand come first. But that can often mean that some of the behind-the-scenes necessities of fleet management can fall by the wayside. Especially driver training, which can be a major asset that can promote a safe workplace and also save your fleet money every year.

Vehicle accidents cost businesses around $60 billion each year, but dedicated driver training can reduce crash rates by 40 to 60 percent.

Are some of your drivers currently grounded due to work-from-home pandemic procedures? Maybe now’s the time to take advantage of those cost savings by using those extra hours to educate your team on safety measures on the road.

Driver training can be done entirely online, an advantage that is more valuable now than ever. Your drivers can work from anywhere, and can take the training when it’s convenient for them, be it after the kids go to bed or when they’re most productive early in the A.M.

Better yet, you can tailor your company’s driver training to each of your drivers, meaning that each hour spent learning is the most valuable it can be. There are three easy ways to keep training at the forefront for all drivers:

First day of school

The first step in customizing your training program is to give all of your drivers a skills assessment. This is usually done when a driver begins working with your company, but can be a great way to understand where each employee is coming from and how they view driver safety. ARI’s skills assessment is a 50 question online tool which asks the test taker to respond to real-life driving situations. It tests their knowledge of safe driving habits and judgement.

Fleet managers and the driver receive the results of this skills assessment. After that, the driver will begin receiving their customized training syllabus, built entirely around the results of the test, which looks at six key areas of driver safety

It is also important to set explicit driving behavior standards through a vehicle use or driving safety policy. Your policy can be turned into an online policy module that drivers can take anywhere. The online policy module helps your drivers understand what is expected of your company, while also keeping them informed of your safety procedures as they move further their tenure.

 

Never stop learning

Now is also the time to consider refresher training, a great tool for seasoned drivers who need to stay informed in their roles. These training modules can be scheduled every quarter or month, depending on your company’s preference.

You want to make sure that your training program modules are specialized specifically for your fleet. That includes courses that work for your vehicles, be it cars and light duty, medium, or heavy duty. These modules also should be broken out even more depending on the driver, giving them training that works around the vehicle they’re in on a day-to-day basis. That includes programs for:

You can mix and match your modules to the vehicles in use (even motorcycles or bicycles) then adjust in time as positions or role expectations change.

Adjust and correct

In an imperfect world, accidents can happen. Training takes those incidents and turns them into learning opportunities, especially when training is designed to address the causes of accidents.

After a road incident, you have the chance to review what happened, and have training modules automatically assigned to the driver for preventable accidents. Automatic assignments reduce the time from when an incident occurs to when remedial action is taken.

This type of proactive behavior helps reduce the chance of accident occurrence, and also can help reduce insurance costs around incidents for the future. When utilized properly, training can keep your drivers safer and serve as a long-term cost savings measure for your company.

While we'd all prefer that our lives would get back to normal sooner rather than later, you can use this opportunity to organize your driver training program and build a safer, more cost-effective future.

Be well and visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for the latest information from us and our industry partners, and sign up for daily updates.