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COVID-19 Business Update: Automotive Businesses Get Creative

Aftermarket companies are getting creative in the ways they can give back and offer support during this challenging time.


Amy Antenora has served as editor of aftermarketNews since 2002 and has worked in the field of journalism for two decades. A graduate of Kent State University, Amy also earned her AAP designation from Northwood University's University of the Aftermarket in 2009.

While the world as a whole continues to grapple with rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic, businesses in the automotive aftermarket, deemed essential services by the U.S. federal government, are stepping in and stepping up. Aftermarket companies are getting creative in the ways they can give back and offer support during this challenging time. 

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Below are just some of the highlights this week on the myriad ways the industry is working to Keep America Rolling.

CEOs Take Paycuts

Earlier this week, we shared that Parts Authority Randy Buller would donate the remainder of his salary for 2020 to a fund to help employees struggling during the pandemic.

Leadership teams at such larger organizations as Michelin, Superior, Paccar and Thor have followed suit in order to stabilize their businesses impacted by COVID-19, by reducing or eliminating their salaries as well. At Michelin, Florent Menegaux and Yves Chapot, managing partners of the Michelin Group, have chosen to reduce their remuneration by around 25% for the months of April and May 2020. In addition, the members of the Group’s Executive Committee have voluntarily decided to reduce their remuneration by around 10% during the same period. These reductions will be continued as long as Group employees are in partial activity due to the Covid-19 health crisis.


Thor Industries announced that the company has implemented a combination of pay reductions and furloughs as it manages through the COVID-19 pandemic. CEO Bob Martin reduced his base compensation to zero and will forgo all cash compensation until further notice. Other key executives of the company will be taking at least a 40% reduction in base salary and will forego all other cash compensation resulting in an expected reduction of nearly 85% of their total compensation. Thor’s Board of Directors have also reduced their cash compensation by 40% until further notice. 

Donating Goods, Manufacturing Hand Sanitizer

Meanwhile, many automotive-related organizations are engineering new ways to use old or current products and manufacturing processes to now turn to fight the spread of the coronavirus. As an example, Cleveland-based paint company Sherwin-Williams have donated 250,000 masks, gloves and lab coats to healthcare workers on the frontlines and has begun manufacturing hand sanitizer at some of its plants.


Offering Services

Automotive car care product company Ziebart is offering antibacterial cleaning services for first responders’ vehicles. “The employees performing the cleaning focuses on areas most touched in the vehicles, like steering wheels, dashboards, door handles and gear shifters,” the article noted.


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