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1HomePageMap small se 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and West Virginia

Thursday, 21 October 2010 16:11

14th Annual GCIA Golf Invitational a Success

The Georgia Collision Industry Association held its 14th annual GCIA Invitational Golf Tournament at the Golf Club at Bradshaw Farms in Woodstock, Georgia on October 13th.

The event was quite a success, filling to capacity as it has for many years in the past according to Howard Batchelor, Tournament Coordinator. Registration started at 11:30 am with lunch at noon and Tee Off at 1:00 pm.

Safelite AutoGlass® celebrated the official opening of its newest vehicle glass distribution center. The 357,000 sq. ft. facility in Braselton, Ga., will process 3 million units of glass in 2011. Safelite AutoGlass® will have a significant impact on the town of just over 2,000, bringing 77 immediate jobs to the area, with an eventual 120 person workforce anticipated.

"Being able to provide employment opportunities for the residents of the Braselton area and aid in the overall economic health of the Jackson County area is something we’re very excited about,” said Tom Feeney, president and CEO of Safelite®.

A lunch meeting in mid-October  launched a new program for Central Florida collision repairers and local businesses to work together in securing and reconditioning four or more vehicles to bestow upon local families in need of a hand-up.

The intent is to have the vehicles ready and the recipients selected in time for this coming Christmas.

Uninsured and underinsured drivers are a real problem in Georgia and many other states, says the McAleer Law Firm through an attorney spokesperson. The firm has issued the following press release:

While it is true that all drivers are required by law to have liability insurance it is abundantly clear that many have no insurance at all. Some estimates state that nearly 50 percent of drivers are uninsured. Additionally, many that do have insurance only have the minimum coverage limits of $25,000 so that they can "drive legal for less". If a driver with such low coverage limits were to cause an accident with injuries, this minimum coverage will barely cover a brief hospital stay.

As a practicing lawyer in Atlanta for the past 14 years, I have counseled numerous clients who have been in the unfortunate position to have been injured by someone who has minimum or no insurance coverage. Although these clients had insurance on their cars, the other drivers did not and these clients were then left holding the bag.

Investigators said the five suspects were caught on camera taking money from an informant from a Hialeah body shop.

According to Hialeah Police, three of the suspects are Allstate adjusters and the other two work for State Farm.

Authorities said these men would help tamper and further damage cars and write up more expensive claims. Then, the suspects would allegedly split the money amongst themselves. "They, in many ways, betrayed their employers, betrayed the colleagues they worked with, they betrayed the people for whom they were filing these claims for and then of course ultimately all of us-- you the consumer," said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle.

The GreenLink Shop status, an extension of CCAR’s CCAR-GreenLink® Environmental Compliance Assistance Center and S/P2® Safety and Pollution Prevention E-learning Program, is designed to promote consumer confidence in local automotive repair facilities’ environmental/safety awareness and stewardship.

The new GreenLink Shops are:

Thursday, 23 September 2010 16:11

Hyundai AL Plant Gains Elantra Production

The 2011 Hyundai Elantra will join its larger sibling, the Sonata, in production at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) starting in late fall 2010. This change, along with the recent move of the Santa Fe to a production facility in Georgia, will further increase Hyundai’s overall U.S. production capacity, which was already producing over half of total U.S. sales volume.

“Hyundai’s philosophy is to build our vehicles where we sell them, and with the addition of the Elantra to our U.S. production mix we now manufacture our three most popular models right here in the U.S.,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America.

The all-new 2011 Elantra sedan will make its public debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show this November, while sales are scheduled to begin early next year.

Sonata is the best-selling vehicle in Hyundai’s U.S. lineup, with sales of 128,484 though the end of August, a 50% increase over the same period last year. Elantra sales through the same period of 90,960 are up 21% over the same period last year.

HMMA has consistently ranked as one of the highest quality plants in Hyundai’s worldwide operations and is an outstanding example of Hyundai’s focused commitment to quality.

This year Sonata was again ranked in the top-three in quality by the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study in the competitive mid-size sedan category. The HMMA-built Sonata was also recently awarded Auto Pacific’s first-ever President’s Award in recognition of its record-setting consumer performance in 48 categories ranging from the basics of comfort and convenience, to performance and environmental friendliness.

More than 1,200,000 vehicles have rolled off the HMMA assembly line since production began on May 20, 2005.

“We’re thrilled to be adding another pillar of the Hyundai lineup to our production mix here at HMMA,” said Ashley Frye, director of production, HMMA. “We’ve been extremely proud to build both Sonata and Santa Fe on our assembly line, both of which have been hugely successful models for Hyundai in the U.S. and we hope to carry that momentum with us as we embark on the new 2011 Elantra.”

Thursday, 23 September 2010 16:08

GDOT Confronts Highway Sales Tax ‘Rumors’

State Department of Transportation Policy and Projects Special Assistant Stephanie Carter September 7 in Gainesville advised Kiwanis Club members not to reject the new regional sales tax for transportation until they understand how it works and what it does.

The sales tax referendum goes before the voters in 2012, not this November, and a regional road project list won’t come out until next year. The 10 year, one cent sales tax goes into effect in 2013.

“Until you actually see the project list and what the one penny is going to fund, I think it’s a little short sighted to come out against the penny,” Carter said.

Last week Hall Farm Bureau members voted against the measure, fearing it could cut funding for Hall County projects.

Carter, who reports directly to Transportation Commissioner Vance Smith, said the new Transportation Investment Act would not stop the flow of funding.

“The money that is raised in this region stays in the region,” she said. “I think a lot of folks are afraid that the money raised here will build new interchanges in Atlanta and that’s not the case.”

Gainesville and Hall County are in the Georgia Mountains Region and Carter said monies raised in the region would go back into its infrastructure. Carter added that DOT would continue to spend money for transportation in Gainesville and Hall County.

Carter said 75 percent of the money is going to be spent on regional projects while 25 percent would go back to the region’s county commissioners and mayors.

On November’s General Election ballot this year there is a voter referendum that stretches funding for state transportation projects.

According to Carter Referendum (3) allows GDOT multi-year contracts on highway projects.

“So if a project is going to cost $100-million but it’s going to take three years to build they could fund it in Year One with $30-million, Year Two with $30-million and Year Three with $40-million,” Carter said. “Right now if we have to put aside that entire $100-million that money is tied up in that project even though it takes three years.If we could move to multi-year contracts it would allow us to get more projects out the door in this fiscal year and in the next and the next.”

Thursday, 23 September 2010 16:07

David Maus Chevrolet Launches New Website

David Maus Chevrolet in Florida, currently under construction, is proud to announce the launch of its new website www.DavidMausChevrolet.com.

The new website offers many great features by providing users with up-to-date information on the construction of the facility, interviews with the construction crew on the project, videos on events throughout the construction period and more.

David Maus Chevrolet will be the fifth dealership in the Central Florida area as a part of the Van Tuyl / David Maus Automotive Group. The construction company, RL Haines, is heading the project which will provide over 1,500 construction related jobs. The new Service Department will showcase 37 service bays with three heavy truck lifts and three detail bays. The entire line of Chevrolet vehicles will be available for sale with one of the largest inventories in Orlando.

For more information on the facility or to apply for a position at David Maus Chevrolet please contact the 407-302-8800 or visit www.DavidMausChevrolet.com.

David Maus Toyota Scion is open for sales and service with a location at 1160 Rinehart Road in Sanford, FL.

General Motors plans to recall about 400 idled union workers to its plant at Spring Hill to build four-cylinder engines for its mid-size crossover vehicles, according to reports made by the Associated Press on September 14.

A person briefed about the new jobs provided the employee count to The Associated Press and said the recall is due to increased demand for the four-cylinder engines. The person did not want to be identified because the plan has not been made public.

In addition, GM will announce that it is investing millions in the Spring Hill engine plant to build the next generation of the company's Ecotec four-cylinder engine, the person said. The factory already builds three four-cylinder engines.

GM spokeswoman Sherrie Childers Arb declined comment September 14 about the jobs but said a media advisory about a September 17 announcement at the plant in Tennessee was forthcoming.

The automaker laid off about 2,000 workers at Spring Hill last year and about 800 of those workers have relocated to GM plants in other states.

In the U.S., the engines built at the Spring Hill plant go into the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain midsize crossover vehicles, the Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan and the Buick Regal midsize sedan, all of which are selling well.

UAW Vice President Joe Ashton is scheduled to be in Spring Hill on September 17 to help make the announcement, the source said.

The prospect of GM adding jobs is also welcome news in Maury County, which had a 14.5 percent unemployment rate in July.

Debbie Hargis is the office manager at Bagsby Tractor and Truck Service in Spring Hill, which worked on trucks for a company that hauled vehicles for the GM plant.

She said the jobs are "going to help Spring Hill a great deal. When people get hired on, it creates more of everything for the area." She said "every business in this area has felt the effect" of the layoffs.

The Detroit Free Press first reported GM's decision to expand its engine building at the Spring Hill plant.

GM laid off workers last year when it moved production of its Chevrolet Traverse after a million dollar overhaul of the Spring Hill plant, where GM 20 years earlier started building the Saturn brand.