In early December, Steve Wolfe saw the words he’d been expecting to hear for months.
OX Brands, parent company of the APU manufacturer IdleBuster, recently posted a message on the IdleBuster Web site saying the company had suspended operations and apparently may never return.
“Due to poor economic conditions OX Brands LLC and IdleBuster has suspended all operations,” company officials stated on the company’s Web site at www.idlebuster.com/ib. “We regret this action, but it was simply not possible to continue under the current nationwide economic situation. …We hope that when the national economic environment improves we will be able to resume operations in some form and continue to serve the trucking industry.”
In October, Land Line was told by Wade Gordon, a former trucker hired as an industry liaison for the APU-maker, that IdleBuster would be suspended for 90 days before reopening for business in January 2009. The company had sold between 400 and 500 APUs, Gordon estimated.
This week, Gordon’s not sure about IdleBuster’s comeback. He told OOIDA in an e-mail that on Nov. 13, the company had suddenly “cut him loose.” He wrote that the company had been sold back to its previous owner by OX Brands LLC.
The recent Web site statement seems to hint to Wolfe and other truckers that the company may not be back at all.
Wolfe – a Land Line reader who has three IdleBuster APUs attached to two Sprinter vans and a box truck he owns – said he encountered problems with his APUs. And now, the company’s maintenance shops have closed.
A phone message at OX Brands says that IdleBuster’s parent company has ceased operations.
According to a recent complaint activity report from the Better Business Bureau of West Florida, OX Brands LLC said: “The business has been emptied and liquidated. There are no cash reserves or assets to assist the consumer in any way.”
After repairing hoses, bracing, diesel lines and performing other fixes to his APUs, Wolfe said he and a co-worker consider themselves “certified IdleBuster mechanics.”
The APUs worked well when maintained, he said. That maintenance, however, is now apparently his responsibility.
Between lost driving time and Wolfe’s out-of-pocket parts and maintenance bills, Wolfe said he believes IdleBuster owes him $2,076, and said he’ll continue to check up on OX Brands and IdleBuster.
Wolfe has filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau in IdleBuster’s home state of Florida and in Ohio, where OX Brands is headquartered.
“My main focus is to let other guys that have these things know about the company,” Wolfe said. “If you’ve got one of their APUs and you’re leaving town, bring your tools.”
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer