Industry Updates: Aftermarket Responds to COVID-19

Mar 27, 2020

With COVID-19 impacting every facet of life, whether it be cancelled sporting events or school closings, everyone is adjusting to a new normal, and that includes the automotive aftermarket. Suppliers, distributors and organizations from around the industry have responded to the ongoing pandemic with various strategies and have been issuing statements through numerous outlets to update its partners.

Whether it’s to reassure customers that it’s business as usual, or to let them know delays are expected, companies around the industry are taking steps to ensure the health of employees, business partners and customers.

Below are updates provided by a variety of aftermarket companies. We will continue to update this list with messages from suppliers, distributors and organizations as we receive them. If your business has been impacted in any way, please contact us here.

March 27

VSM Rostra, a producer of automotive electronics, has shut down operations after an employee at its Newark, New Jersey, facility tested positive for COVID-19. “The safety of our employees is our number one priority and we will take all necessary measures to ensure a safe work environment in light of this situation,” CEO and CFO James Pineau said in a letter to its customers.

Pineau says the company will begin sanitation efforts as soon as possible and will later determine when production and shipping operations will resume. Any and all personnel that were in contact with the employee have been asked to perform a 14-day self-quarantine process.

Vortech Engineering has been deemed an ‘essential business,’ according to a press release from the company, and is currently receiving product and shipping orders as usual. Sales, tech and customer service staff are available by phone, e-mail and fax during business hours, which are currently 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PDT. The company also said that staff may be limited at times and delays in communication are possible. Will call orders have also been suspended.

Covercraft is experiencing delays in order fulfillment following recent ‘shelter-in-place’ orders in various locations, according to a statement on the company’s website. While timing of a return to normal processing and fulfillment is uncertain, the company advises that placing an order immediately will ensure more rapid fulfillment once restrictions are lifted. The following products are experiencing delays in shipping: PrecisionFit Seat Covers, Colgan Front End Covers, UVS100 & Flex Sunscreens, Cargo Area Liners, ADCO RV Covers and ProNets.

All Champion Oil facilities are fully operational, according to a press release from the company, and continue to accept and ship orders as normal. The company also noted that its shipping carriers continue to operate as normal, but there have been minimal delays and supply chain disruptions. The company has also transitioned some employees to remote work that are not a part of essential day-to-day manufacturing or warehouse operations.

March 26

Classic Industries, located in California, has suspended all operations, temporarily closing the company’s offices, showroom and warehouse. Order fulfillment has also been suspended. All orders placed after March 20 will be processed and shipped once operations resume.

JVCKenwood is adhering to California’s ‘shelter-in-place’ order and has suspended all shipments of product, according to CE Outlook. However, the company’s staff remain in full contact while working remotely. The company says alternative logistics solutions are being explored.

Firstech has also closed its Washington warehouse and has ceased all warranty and shipping operations through at least April 6, also per CE Outlook.

Brian Murphy, CEO of BBK Performance, issued a statement notifying customers and partners that the company remains in full operation and does not anticipate any disruptions at its Florida warehouse. In response to ‘stay-at-home’ orders, Murphy says, BBK is waiving any drop ship fees to all accounts and has placed additional resources with its shipping team to process additional drop ship volumes.

Pacific Performance Engineering has notified THE SHOP that the company is exempt from California’s ‘shelter-in-place’ mandate and is still operational. The company continues to practice social distancing and is disinfecting its facilities throughout the day. Staff is also working on flexible, alternating hours to reduce the number of employees on site. Several departments have been approved to work remotely and sales representatives are conducting business through phone and e-mail only.

Hellwig Suspension Products is continuing operations as an ‘essential business.’ The company has implemented temporary office hours of 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. PDT.

Mustang Dynamometer is currently operating at full capacity, according to a press release. The Ohio-based company’s manufacturing facility is fully operational, and sales and service staff are available for assistance. The company is currently following CDC guidelines and recommends the postponement of tours and in-person visits of its facilities.

ProMedia Publishing & Events, the parent company of the Holley NMRA Ford Nationals and NMCA Muscle Car Nationals, has closed its office, according to a press release, but remains operational as staff is working remotely. Personnel will be available via e-mail only. Longer processing times are expected for merchandise orders, memberships, rule requests and other inquiries.

March 25

Due to a state-wide ‘shelter-in-place’ order in Illinois, Billet Specialties has closed until April 7 and will resume operations on April 8. Orders placed after March 20 will not be processed or shipped until the week of April 8.

Racing Power Company is also subject to a ‘shelter-in-place’ order in California but will continue to operate with minimum warehouse staff on site. will still be accepting online retail orders, but fulfillment may take up to 24 hours.

Fatman Fabrications is still fully operational and will continue to operate as usual until the state of North Carolina mandates the closing of ‘non-essential’ businesses, the company has informed THE SHOP. The company has taken precautions to ensure the health of its staff, which continues to work on a full schedule, including sales and tech support.

1-800 EveryRim is continuing to operate as an ‘essential business’ and has taken steps to protect employees by following CDC regulations.

Bob Scheid, director of business development at McLeod Racing, issued a statement, noting that the company remains fully operational and continues to build and ship product, while practicing safe protocols to protect employees. Tech and sales lines continue to operate normally while staff works remotely.

Livernois Motorsports and Engineering has been deemed ‘essential’ and will continue to function, according to a statement from the company, but will be operating on a limited schedule with limited staff. Staff will also not be giving walk-throughs to new or existing customers unless it is a pre-approved appointment.

Factory Five Racing will be closed for two weeks, effective March 24. The business plans to reopen on April 8. The closure could result in some shipping delays, according to President Dave Smith.
SuperPro is still operating but has taken precautionary measures to facilitate remote work where possible and social distancing for staff still operating at its California, Australia and New Zealand facilities.

Sport Truck USA and its affiliate brands (BDS Suspension, JKS Manufacturing, RT Pro UTV, Zone Offroad and 4×4 Posi-Lok) remain open for business, according to a release from the company. The company will be operating with limited staff over the next few weeks and has instituted remote working where possible.

Those who wish to contact the company should use e-mail, according to company management, as it is currently the most efficient method of communication for staff members working remotely. The limited on-site staff could lead to shipping delays, although same day shipping remains the company’s goal. All departments are running and there have been no changes to business hours. Any updates will be provided via the company’s website.

March 24

US Motor Works issued a statement following California’s statewide ‘Shelter in Place’ order, stating that the company is continuing to operate as an ‘essential’ business and plan on continuing to manufacture and ship product as usual. The company is enforcing CDC guidelines by expanding sanitation efforts and practicing social distancing at its facilities, as well as eliminating all non-essential travel and restricting access to facilities.

Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool continues to operate, according to a letter from Paul Mittler, although upcoming metal shaping and metalworking classes, hosted by the company, for March and April have been postponed.

Pennsylvania-based UMI Performance has closed according to an announcement from the company, citing the state’s mandatory shutdown. The company is closed until further notice and will fulfill any in-process or new orders once production is allowed to resume.

Neuspeed, located in California, is still operating, but has closed its retail location. The company will also not be accepting personal or will-call pick up, except by shipping carriers. Reduced on-site staff has also led the company to extend its shipping time from 24 to 48 hours, but will continue to process and ship orders as long as parcel carries are still in operation.

Melling Engine Parts announced it will be minimizing operations for the next three weeks following a ‘Stay at Home’ order from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer but will remain open and shipping product with a reduced staff. Customers may experience a delay in shipments.

“Although the automotive aftermarket supply chain and OE service are considered ‘essential’ operations by the federal government, Melling intends to abide by this order as much as possible to protect our employees, customers and the community where we operate,” read a statement from the company.

BorgWarner will be suspending manufacturing operations in North America and Europe, according to a press release, citing reduction in OEM manufacturing, which accounts for 70% of the company’s revenue.

Marelli has also announced suspension of operations, shutting down manufacturing in a staggered fashion, also due to a reduction in OEM manufacturing.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued a ‘Stay-at-Home’ directive for the state, but Hi-Lift Jack Company is exempted, according to a press release. The company will continue to operate.

“We will continue taking the necessary steps to proactively and effectively manage the safety of our team members and others while we do our part during this national emergency,” said Steve Dowden, vice president of sales and marketing at Hi-Lift. “We appreciate your partnership and express our heartfelt wishes for the continued safety and health of you, your families and your team members.”

March 23

Daystar has altered its production schedule, the performance suspension manufacturer has announced, in addition to taking several other precautions to protect employees. While the company is still distributing products, it has shifted to a three-day per week, 12-hour workday production schedule and is encouraging remote work when possible. It has also provided employees with sanitizer and is following CDC guidelines. The company currently expects no disruption of production or distribution.

Turn 14 Distribution has indicated to THE SHOP that its distribution centers in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Texas remain fully operational, while sales, accounting and support staff work remotely. Employees on the job at the distribution centers are now working on separated shifts, the company said, and professional cleaners have been hired to clean high traffic and high contact areas of its facilities between shifts. ‘Will Call’ service at all three distribution centers has also been suspended until further notice.

On March 23, the performance parts distributor began employee screening at its Hatsfield, Pennsylvania, and other locations. Any employee with an elevated temperature or other symptoms will be asked to stay home.

Alden Stiefel, president and CEO of Maxxsonics USA, issued a statement, noting that the company is continuing to operate as usual.

“Here at Maxxsonics, we are practicing the necessary steps suggested by the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Stiefel said. “It is very crucial that we remember our health should never be taken for granted and that we are all in this battle together.”

Fluidampr, based in western New York, continues to operate and ship products, according to a statement from the company. The company has cancelled all travel, implemented remote work where possible, temporarily suspended any visitors to its facility and instituted social distancing and additional sanitizing measures. The company continues to manufacture product and is taking and fulfilling orders.

American Car Craft, an automotive accessory manufacturer, also continues to operate, with manufacturing of product proceeding as usual. However, the company has closed its Hudson, Florida, showroom to the public, although it will still be open by appointment only. The company is accepting and fulfilling orders through all distributors and retail orders by phone, e-mail and its website.

Additionally, Go Rhino issued an update, detailing its implementation of remote working and suspension of travel. The company has also created a ‘business continuity’ plan that aims to ensure its supply chain continues without disruption. Go Rhino has been working with its raw material and component suppliers to avoid any interruptions in service. Hours of operation and shipping schedule remain the same for the company.

March 20

Air Flow Research has temporarily shut down due to California Governor Gavin Newsome’s ‘Stay at Home Order’ issued on March 19, the company announced. The shut down means the company will not be fulfilling any outgoing shipments until the order is lifted. AFR is also formulating a plan to provide some services to customers remotely and will resume answering phones, e-mails and processing orders as soon as possible.

Chris Casperson, president of Pypes Performance Exhaust, issued a statement reassuring customers that the company is still operating as normal, taking, filling and shipping orders, while still practicing social distancing and employing appropriate sanitary measures.

“We can’t say if there will be any restrictions on our ability to conduct business in the near future, but in the meantime, we are open for business,” Casperson said. “Our entire team is working hard to keep the flow of products and communications moving. Our goal is to continue to provide products and services to our valued customer base for as long as possible without putting the health and welfare of our team in jeopardy.”

Technical partners ProTorque and Boninfante Friction, both located in Pennsylvania, are currently operating without full staffs, as the state recently mandated all non-essential businesses be closed. The companies are currently expecting lengthened lead times and limited production as a result.

“Please bear with us while we do the best we can to keep production up and to keep shipping to you. We ask for your patience and appreciate your understanding as so much of this is simply out of our control,” the companies said in a statement. “We need (and value) your business, and the country and our economy need us all to stay strong, to stay vigilant, and to stay patient. For any inquiries on your existing orders, please call and/or email as normal.”

Owens Products is also addressing the situation with internal guidelines, while maintaining standard operations. The company is currently providing sanitizers to all employees, in addition to CDC and World Health Organization guidelines, and all employees have been instructed to sanitize all equipment prior to and after daily production. Daily staff meetings have also been minimized to every two weeks, and all travel has been suspended. Owens has also closed its facilities to outside visitors.

T-REX Truck Products also issued a statement reassuring customers that the company is currently maintaining standard operations.

“We have begun a proactive measure to limit travel and are taking appropriate steps to limit impacts to our employees, customers and operations,” the statement read. “Additionally, we are developing contingency plans to address potential disruptions. We appreciate your support and patience and we will do everything possible to continue to provide quality parts, productions, and shipments during this time.”

March 19

VP Racing Fuels noted that it continues to supply race fuels, coolants and lubricants to race series and teams, despite the economic challenges caused by COVID-19. VP continues to maintain sufficient inventory and transportation to supply all professional and amateur race customers around the world.

“Product quality and delivery excellence are what we’re known for,” stated Alan Cerwick, VP’s president and CEO. “Amidst this challenging business climate, we remain committed to providing our race and retail customers with product availability and on-time delivery to support their business operations. Our product demand remains stable, and we continue to sign new race series and distribution relationships in 2020.”

Eric York, supply chain and warehouse manager at Armor Protective Packaging, issued an update regarding the company’s operations, stating it is following CDC directives, restricting access to facilities, eliminating non-essential travel, expanding sanitation efforts, practicing social distancing and activating remote work scenarios wherever possible.

York also noted that the company domestically sources the majority of items used in production of its products and does not anticipate any disruption to raw material supply or production.

Bully Dog Performance, as well as its parent company, Derive Systems, is implementing remote work and virtual collaboration and has cancelled all large gatherings and non-essential business travel. The company is also limiting visitors to all office locations. Advance approval is needed for any office visits. Sales and customer service is available and the company is shipping orders as usual.

Goodguys Rod and Customs Association has temporarily closed its corporate office due to a ‘shelter-in-place’ order currently being implemented in the San Francisco Bay area. During the shutdown, Goodguys employees will be working remotely, causing longer than usual response time to any inquiries. New membership cards, event confirmations and refund requests will also not be processed or sent out until the office reopens.

Forrest and Morgan Lucas, Lucas Oil Products executives, also put an emphasis on the health and safety of the company’s employees in a statement, as the company has implemented remote working, alternative scheduling and distance requirements at its facilities and suspended employee travel.

As owner and operator of several motorsport events, the company has also postponed all activities where large crowd gatherings occur.

Custom Automotive Network (CAN) President Tracie Nunez also sent out a letter regarding its CAN Connect conference, set to be held in September, which the organization continues to prepare for as scheduled. If interested in registering for the conference, the organization allows delayed billing (no payment required now) and any payments already are fully refundable until August 12, a date the CAN Board of Directors is currently reviewing. CAN offices are fully operational from multiple remote locations and operational during normal business hours.