SPECIAL REPORT: Dealers ponder next move after RigMaster shuts down

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — One of Canada’s largest APU manufacturers has been permanently idled, leaving some dealers wondering where to turn for product support.

In a memo sent to its dealers across North America late last night, RigMaster Power states that "general economic conditions" have forced the APU maker out of business.

The company, a separately run subsidiary of Mississauga’s Harper Group, has already ceased operations. It had about 190 dealers throughout North America.

"A secured creditor will be effecting the liquidation of the company’s assets," states the memo, obtained by todaystrucking.com. "A limited number of finished units may be available for a short period and an alternative supply of parts should come available to customers and dealers early next week as a consequence of the liquidation process."

When new trucks sales fell off a cliff, so did
RigMaster, one anti-idling systems dealer explains

Several calls to the company’s Toronto area head office this morning went unanswered.

Some independent dealers claim that the company still hasn’t returned their calls going back to last week. "I wish I owed them some money so I know they’d contact me," one dealer quipped.

Todaystrucking.com contacted a handful of dealers this morning and all said that they didn’t see this coming.

A sales representative at one of the larger Southern Ontario dealers told us that while he’s surprised at the announcement, he admits that adding thousands of dollars to the final price of a unit for an anti-idling device can be tough for truckers to justify in the current economy. 

Even though fuel economy is a big concern for carriers and owner-ops — particularly last summer — RigMaster anti-idling systems had a rough time carving out a slice of the hyper-competitive market, says another dealer.

Keith Windling of anti-idling systems dealer, Manwin Enterprises in Ayr, Ont., comments that RigMaster’s downfall was most probably because it was "too closely tied" to OEM truck sales.

"With RigMaster, most people wouldn’t add it to an existing vehicle," he says. "They capitalize it when they purchased the truck. And new truck sales are off the map right now. So, that’s what’s happened to RigMaster."

Windling says he still has a decent amount of parts inventory left, but the main concern is warranty support.

"We’ll probably have to handle whatever we can on our own for the customers we sold to directly, at least. We’re not going to leave them wanting for anything, but others that bought through other dealers may have issues."

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