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  • FuelMaker bankruptcy

    I got a couple of calls today from FuelMaker dealers saying that Honda closed down the company. This is a significant loss to the natural gas vehicle movement as they were the only provider of home and small fleet refueling appliances, including the "Phill" appliance for in-garage refueling.

    As we discussed last fall, Clean Energy made a $17 million bid for FuelMaker but the deal fell through in the 11th hour:
    http://www.cngchat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3275

    Hopefully now someone will pick up the pieces in an asset sale?

  • #2
    Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

    This is the first I have heard of it, am checking on it.
    Dave

    Note from forum staff:
    If you are looking for cngacrossusa's off-topic rant & some replies as to who ought to buy the Fuelmaker assets, etc. we have moved them to the Rants forum here:
    http://cngchat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4702
    Last edited by John Mitton; 04-05-2009, 03:05 PM.
    Dave Clement

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

      On thursday april 2nd 2009, honda of america, sole shareholder of fuelmaker corporation based in toronto, ontario, canada advised that fuelmaker corporation has declared bankruptcy and entered into receivership effective immediately. All activities worldwide have been suspended. All employees have been dismissed. All facilities have been closed.

      The toronto branch of alvarez and marsal has been named trustee by honda of america and is tasked with liquidating the assets of fuelmaker corporation.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

        Honda locked everything up on Thursday and told everyone they were done,
        20 minutes notice to get your stuff out and we're changing the locks.
        This week should be interesting, I don't think they fully thought out the repurcussions of the move. They may divide it up or someone may come in and buy the whole thing. Fuelmaker was still courting investors.
        My customers and I are holding our breath to see what happens along with
        our Honda dealers who just sold some GX's and we have paid Phills on order to go with them. Honda is going to come out looking bad.
        I've already had some customers call asking about the conditions of future warranty coverage for their recently installed equipment.
        The coming weeks will tell whether I'm still in business or doing something else.
        Dave Clement

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        • #5
          Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

          I checked Fuelmaker's website and it seems normal. Google news has no mention of any problems and The Toronto Star newspaper has no mention of same. I am skeptical of any shutdown based on currant information.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

            I think their email and phone lines are going off line on Monday.
            All their employees have been terminated, no severance, just 20 minutes notice and you are done. Toronto, Texas and Utah are all closed.
            Dave Clement

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

              Seems like its done . I got a quote on a FM2Q36 and remote panel from my local Fuelmaker dealer who was going to place an order on Monday. He receieved an e-mail from someone at Fuelmaker saying that on April 2, at 5:00pm they were ordered closed and placed into receivership. Kind of a pain for me as everything was laid out for the installation. But far more important then my instant change of plans is the fate of the Fuelmaker company, its employees and most important---the commitment of Honda Motor Company to NGV. I don't think this bodes well for the future of the GX unless they have another manufacturer in line to pick up the slack in the home/small fleet refueling business.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

                Originally posted by jenki_putnik View Post
                I am skeptical of any shutdown based on currant information.
                Checking a few websites doesn't mean anything. The CNG world is small and most people know what they are talking about. I would trust their word first ..


                “Innovation is driven by having access to things.” -- Gleb Budman, CEO of backblaze.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

                  Originally posted by cngaz View Post
                  All their employees have been terminated, no severance, just 20 minutes notice and you are done.
                  That is low. People deserve to be treated better than that.
                  Last edited by John Mitton; 04-21-2009, 05:49 PM.


                  “Innovation is driven by having access to things.” -- Gleb Budman, CEO of backblaze.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

                    Originally posted by jblue View Post
                    That is low. People deserve to be treated better than that.
                    http://www.alvarezandmarsal.com

                    Consultant firms often operate in that manner. Like the same business wizzards on wall street.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

                      Now there is no home refueling appliance available for sale in the US. This is very bad for NGV owners that have invested in the purchase of a Phill, FM4, FMQ2 or FMQ2-36 and now will likely have no avenue for parts and service. If no one picks up the pieces of this Bankruptcy, this will be a major blow to the CNG industry in the US.

                      Unfortunately, I think it points at another problem as well. Our laws are inadequate at both protecting us (safety, durability, etc) and doing so practically, resulting at a reasonable product price. The Phill ended up costing 2-3 times what it should have due to the costly US "appliance" certification process. Then, we had to use "certified" installers...a factor, for which Fuelmaker bears the blame entirely. If you are not already familiar with the result, installers charged $1,200-$2,000 for 3 hours of work simply because they could, knowing we, the consumer, had no choice. In summary the Phill was expensive to produce because of our laws and even more expensive to sell because of FM's insistence on "certified" installer that had free reign on pricing. I wonder if they made money on their FMQ line...they must have, they've been in business for a while.

                      It would be interesting if a former high level Fuelmaker employee and/or current high level Honda employee could comment on how we arrived at this Bankruptcy and what the reasons were in their opinion.

                      The following is my opinion, but I realize I only see my end of the picture. Just like EPA certifications of CNG kit conversions are too expensive for the economics to make sense in the majority of applications, our current certification process for a home vehicle refueling appliance (VRA) is also too expensive to attract other manufacturers of such VRA's to the market. In the end, the laws designed to protect us, are failing us. In the abstract, I guess we are very safe now that no VRA are for sale in the US, and thus the risk associated with their operation will be completely eliminated as we are unable to operate them without parts and service. Similarly, pollution from CNG vehicles in the US will be greatly reduced if we stop driving them all together (rather than relaxing EPA certification rules). Obviously this myopic look at only the small fragmented picture misses the big picture: Overall emissions will increase if CNG vehicles are substituted with gasoline vehicles. For some reason, our laws seem to miss this point. It's nothing new however, I just hope this bankruptcy doesn't end up severely crippling the US CNG movement.
                      Last edited by Adrian; 04-05-2009, 11:52 AM.
                      Adrian

                      Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
                      Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
                      Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

                        VERY SAD FOR THEIR EMPLOYEE's and the cng marketplace.
                        Going forward what is the next best option for for our refueling community.
                        My company has made a sizeable investment in CNG, and cannot rely on
                        a utility companies 30 year old equipment. IF, CNG CHAT participants
                        can come up with a good alternative, it should be heavily promoted.
                        Bob
                        CNGPIZZA

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

                          I have a FMQ2-36 what parts should I be looking for before they dissapear?

                          This really sucks on Honda's part... I got 2 civics last year and was thinking long term use.

                          This is how "Alternate Energy" gets burned!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

                            So here is another hard lesson from the marketplace. Businesses are not charitable social institutions. Companies need to make a profit in order to survive.

                            I am not a shill for CE, but what would the NGV world look like without CE. My Honda GX would become the world's largest paperweight.

                            Now, just how heathy is CE? Gee whiz, they lost 77 million in 2006, lost 9 million in 2007, and 41 million in 2008. Maybe that's why their stock went from around $20 a share to $7.

                            I have plenty of gripes with CE. They are too focused on political and lobbying activities. They have placed a bunch of bad bets. But for now, they are the best source of public fueling stations. Without them, I'd be back to wrecking the environment, undermining the dollar, and giving money to terrorists...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: FuelMaker bankruptcy

                              I have a customer that just sent his FMQ2-36 back to FM to get repaired. Anyone care to speculate what will happen in ths case, aside from the fact that it won't get fixed, will he get it back?

                              I know of several companies that were fooling with vra's last summer in an attempt to come up with a viable unit. Some didn't pan out, others... I never heard further on.

                              This is a golden opportunity for anyone with a plan to get stimulus funding to bring a product to market. If they can apply lessons learned form FM, they could tap into a gold mine.

                              Even though this is a setback for the convenience factor (for most), those hardest hit will be the people in area's with insufficient infrastructure. While other options exist, namely small commercial units from the commercial side, even a used product will not be within reach for the vast majority due to sheer cost factors.

                              Eric R., if you're out there, could you chime in on Honda's side of this issue?
                              [ATTACH=CONFIG]temp_4586_1441434431016_578[/ATTACH]

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