RV Suppliers Respond to Mandated Shutdowns

Photo of people milling around the exhibit hall at the Keller Marine & RV Show in Tampa, Fla., 2019.

The state-mandated closures of all businesses not deemed “essential” in Indiana, Michigan and elsewhere have forced a number of RV aftermarket suppliers to temporarily cease production. However, some suppliers consider themselves part of an essential industry and report they will continue operations until told otherwise.

Citing the stay-at-home orders in Indiana and Michigan, Thetford and Norcold are taking a pause.

“Manufacturing and distribution from our Thetford Corporation and Norcold Inc.
operations will be suspended as of today [March 23],” Executive Vice President Barry Eckel said in a communication to industry partners. “We have instituted work from home for many of our office staff. Therefore, communication with Thetford and Norcold should not be affected.

“This major disruption will obviously impact our capacity to supply refrigeration, sanitation, and RV and Marine aftermarket products and components manufactured and distributed from both Thetford and Norcold over the coming weeks. We are planning to ramp up manufacturing and distribution activities as soon as the stay at home order is lifted. We plan to be in contact with all our customers, suppliers, and business partners to review the impact to you of this unfortunate but necessary government mandated decision.”

Horizon Global was another supplier that reached out to customers Monday about corporate response to COVID-19. However, in a letter to customers, Horizon Global CEO Terrence Gohl and Senior Vice President Lee Adelman said the parent company of Reese towing products and other aftermarket brands is not shutting down.

“While some businesses have been ordered to suspend operations across the country, the automotive industry has by in large been declared ‘Essential’ and therefore, should remain operational,” Gohl and Adelman said. “This includes suppliers, as well as automotive retailers, and other channels within the automotive industry.

“At Horizon Global, remaining operational is a priority, and we want you to know that unless federal, state, and/or local authorities mandate changes in policy, we will remain open and orders will ship expeditiously. … We continue to manufacture and purchase products and have little or no interruption in our supply chain at this time. In fact, we are stocking products so that as the current crisis abates, we will have the wherewithal to supply you in an unprecedented manner.”

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