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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

ECO-Friendly Auto Center in Oakland Park, FL, received Florida State Green Certification through Certified Green Partners (CGP) on August 5. ECO-Friendly received this certification thanks to processes and techniques they use daily in their shop.

To view a PDF of this article please CLICK HERE.

Florida city officials as well as representatives from suppliers attended ECO-Friendly’s Certification Ceremony at the shop on August 5.

“From day one I had being green in mind,” said Sully Dawson, owner of ECO-Friendly Auto Center.

The auto center had to be audited by Certified Green Partners before receiving this certification. The entire shop and all of its processes were looked into by an auditor from CGP to make sure the shop held up CGP’s standards for certification.

ECO-Friendly recycles just about everything possible around the shop from scrap metals to batteries to office papers.

In response to numerous inquiries regarding the status of the Slander and Tortious Interference case Gunder’s Auto Center has against State Farm; we have filed our appellate brief and State Farm has filed their rebuttal and we are currently awaiting the courts ruling relative to a request for Summary Judgment presented in the matter. We anticipate success in this regard and to move forward to achieving the ultimate goal of “having our day in court."

This entire matter hinges on whether any insurer, including State Farm, can merely target a repairer and have the right to say anything they wish with the intent to harm the repairer and disparage their good name in an effort to interfere with the relationship between the repairer and their customer; so long as the insurer does not breach the legal limit referred to as “Expressed Malice”. It is my understanding that according to State Farm, this means they can say anything they wish about me and my company up to the extent that one is a “murderer” or “rapist” etc.!

Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi, Inc., the U.S. operations of Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd., will move forward with its plans to provide stamped parts, body weld parts and plastic parts to the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi plant at Blue Springs.

Governor Haley Barbour announced the restart of construction on the $200 million facility in Baldwyn on July 30.

The plant is expected to employ close to 300 people.

A Japanese newspaper reported the work was resuming two weeks ago, but at the time, local industry experts told WTVA it was just a rumor.

The Governor says he expects other suppliers to the Toyota Mississippi plant in Blue Springs to announce resumption of work soon.

The Georgia Collision Industry Association has completed and released the results of its labor rate survey.

To view the results chart in PDF format please CLICK HERE.

The results show an average year on year increase of 3.15% for 2010 over 2009 in five categories: Sheet Metal, Refinish, Mechanical, Frame, and Paint & Material. The 2009 rates had an average increase of less than 1% over 2008.

The largest increase was in the paint and material rate (4.60% over 2009) followed by the frame rate which averaged 4.1% over the prior year. The lowest increase was in the mechanical rate.

The 4th Annual GCIA Labor Rate Survey began on Monday, April 26, 2010. GCIA conducted the survey by mailing a postcard to all Metro Atlanta Shops that included a link to the online survey website. The association then followed up and called all shops in metro Atlanta. A total of 137 shops completed the online version and 154 shops were contacted by telephone for a total of 291 total survey responses.

Shop identities will not be published with the results of this survey and will remain confidential. Names were used to track demographics and ensure that only one survey was cast per Repair Facility location.  No rates were used that may exist between a repair facility and any contracted customer such as a Fleet Account or Insurance DRP Program.

Georgia's infrastructure has not kept pace with their monumental growth over the last three years; Georgia ranks 49th among the 50 states in infrastructure-spending per capita. Its petrol tax—which funds highway, road and bridge maintenance—is the second-lowest in the country. Georgia’s legislature has long been sharply divided between Atlanta and the rest of the state: telling voters in the rural south, for instance, that they will have to pay higher taxes to fund road improvements in the urban north is politically unpalatable. Georgia’s governor Sonny Perdue signed a comprehensive transport bill on June 2nd that was three years in the making, hoping to bridge all of Atlanta together to help strengthen infrastructure statewide.

The bill divides Georgia into 12 regions, and gives each the power to decide on its own transport projects. Voters in each region will decide by referendum whether to approve a one-cent increase in the sales-tax to pay for those regional projects. Atlanta stands to see as much as $790 million through the new tax.

The bill may also help MARTA, Atlanta’s urban-rail system. It is the largest in the country that does not receive any state funding; it relies instead on passenger revenue and a 1% sales tax in the two counties it serves.

Mercedes-Benz USA announced the opening of a new state-of-the-art facility in Jacksonville, Florida that will house four business units including Sales Operations Southern Regional Office; Parts Distribution Center (PDC); Quality Evaluation Center (QEC); and Learning & Performance Center (LPC).

The newly constructed building totaling 415,000 sq. ft. is a leased facility located off of Interstate 95 at 13470 International Parkway. MBUSA plans to take official occupancy in July. Approximately 160 employees are in the new facility, which incorporates innovative environmental systems and design.

A new addition to MBUSA's operation in Jacksonville, the Parts Distribution Center (PDC) supports approximately 70 MBUSA dealers in the Southeast with parts supply. The PDC will house about 15 percent of MBUSA overall parts inventory, shipping over 1.3 million lines annually. MBUSA has four other Parts Distribution Centers in U.S.: Carol Stream, IL, Fontana, CA, Fort Worth, TX and Robbinsville, NJ.

The Learning & Performance Center is a state of the art training facility for dealership and MBUSA personnel. MBUSA facilitates over 120 classes per year in the Jacksonville Learning & Performance Center, with a total of about a thousand participants from across the Southeastern United States. MBUSA operates five Learning & Performance Centers in the U.S.: Houston, TX, Itasca, IL, Jacksonville, FL, Montvale, NJ, and Rancho Cucamonga, CA.