Southeastern News

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

DUI arrests have skyrocketed in Mississippi in the past several years, helping lead to the lowest number of drunken driving deaths in decades according to reports made by Insurance Journal.

It’s welcome news for a state that has ranked among the nation’s worst in per capita alcohol-related deaths. Projections estimate drunken driving deaths in 2010 in Mississippi will be about 232 — far below the 384 tallied in 2007.

The drop coincides with the state seeing more than 32,000 DUI arrests for the second year in a row, far more than the 22,511 several years ago.

Mississippi Highway Patrol officials attribute the rise in DUI arrests to local and county agencies across the state getting more involved.

“Here are things we know we can prevent through enforcement and stiff penalties,” said Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin. “It’s a deterrent.”

The recent deaths of four Jefferson County teenagers in three wrecks reinforced what safety experts said they already knew — Alabama is a dangerous place for young drivers.

According to reports made by the Birmingham News, a 2008 study by Allstate Insurance ranked the state the second most dangerous in the country for teen drivers, just behind Mississippi. Of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, the Birmingham- Hoover area was the fifth deadliest for those drivers, the study showed.

That same year, 8.8 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in Alabama were age 19 or under and 22 percent were younger than 25, according to the 2008 Alabama Traffic Crash Facts published by the University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety.

PPG’s Business Solutions Group led the instruction of its MVP Green Belt Training for a class of 12 Toyota collision center managers in the southeast region, November 8-11. Hosted by Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC, the training was held at its Vehicle Processing Center in Jacksonville, Fla. Southeast Toyota is the world’s largest independent distributor of Toyota and Scion vehicles.


PPG’s MVP Green Belt Training is a comprehensive 4-day program focusing on the practical application of Lean Six Sigma principles to collision repair. The curriculum is designed to provide an effective balance between teaching the proven science and principles of continuous improvement and providing practical solutions in the collision center environment, all geared to drive simultaneous improvement in cycle time, quality and cost. The course covered such topics as X-Ray Repair Planning™, process design and implementation, 5S and workplace organization, and resources a collision center can draw upon to further continuous process improvement.

Walker County, AL, has steered a Toyota supplier plant into its industrial park. The mostly rural county is banking on more than 400 acres near the future Interstate 22 to boost its economic development profile and its fortunes, according to the Birmingham News.

Inside an industrial building at Bevill Industrial Park, workers for Birmingham’s Gray Construction are moving to complete work on what will be home to Amtex, a subsidiary of the giant Japanese automotive supplier Hayashi Telempu.

Amtex is investing $12.8 million to finish the building and install equipment to produce carpeting and interior trim for the Corolla cars that Toyota will build at its new plant near Tupelo, MS. Both the Amtex and Toyota plants are scheduled to open in 2011.

David Knight, executive director of the Walker County Development Authority, said the plant will have up to 45 jobs when it opens and could grow to 60 within a few months. More growth is possible if the company wins work with other automakers, which it is pursuing, he said.

New jobs related to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi are growing steadily in number and impact in Northeast Mississippi, even though production of the best-selling Corolla sedans won’t start until about this time in 2011 at the TMMMS assembly plant near Blue Springs in Union County, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

TMMMS officials announced that all major internal construction work at the Wellspring site campus has been completed, and that new hires every week (including contract construction of a railroad marshaling yard and other external elements) are building steadily toward a 1,400-1,500 employee pre-production work force on site by March 2011.

The sign says ‘Future Home of the Alabama Motorsports Park’. But it could be the home of the Revenge Supercar, according to Fox 10 TV News Alabama/Florida.

The Revenge is a high performance car for the high tier of the market, said former Mobile Mayor Mike Dow.

Dow, who spearheads the racetrack movement, said automobile maker Revenge Supercars has its sights set on 200 acres of land on the Prichard-Saraland line. The land is on the Highway 158 corridor and Highway 45.

Dow is asking the Mobile County Commission for support enticing the automaker to move to the area. He said Revenge Supercars would bring 600 jobs, with an average pay of $50,000.