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

Thursday, 23 September 2010 09:08

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 09:07

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.

Mercedes-Benz USA September 8 held a grand-opening ceremony for a new cutting-edge facility in Jacksonville, Florida. Strategically located less than three miles from the Jacksonville airport, the new Southern Region facility centralizes several business units into one complex for more efficient dealer support and correspondingly higher levels of customer satisfaction.

The recently constructed building totaling a combined 415,000 sq. ft., is a leased facility built to accommodate MBUSA's needs. It is located off Interstate 95 at 13470 International Parkway. MBUSA took official occupancy in July with four business units operating from the site including: Sales Operations Southern Regional Office; Parts Distribution Center (PDC); Quality Evaluation Center (QEC); and Learning & Performance Center (LPC). Approximately 160 employees work at the new facility, which incorporates innovative environmental systems and design using the same criteria as LEED certified buildings within each of the four business areas.

"This new facility is an integral part of our commitment to more efficiently and effectively support our dealers so that they in turn can provide the unparalleled ownership experience that our buyers expect from Mercedes-Benz," said Ernst Lieb, president and CEO of MBUSA, who presided over the ceremony. "This facility represents our best thinking in terms of how Mercedes-Benz looks and functions."

The new complex incorporates the company's unique Autohaus design which has been adopted by Mercedes-Benz dealerships across the country. The modern aesthetic concept skillfully incorporates signature design elements in a way that is designed to promote interaction and create an appealing functional environment...

The new Jacksonville facility houses the following business operations: -- SALES OPERATIONS SOUTHERN REGION OFFICE -- The Southern Region MBUSA office supports 102 MBUSA dealerships with sales and fixed operations across 12 states including Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Texas as well as Puerto Rico. MBUSA has three other regional offices in the U.S.: Parsippany, NJ, Rosemont, IL and Costa Mesa, CA. -- PARTS DISTRIBUTION CENTER -- 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. The company has four other Parts Distribution Centers in U.S.: Carol Stream, IL, Fontana, CA, Fort Worth, TX and Robbinsville, NJ. -- QUALITY EVALUATION CENTER -- With more than 70 personnel from various engineering and logistics disciplines representing a diverse collection of work experience and backgrounds, the Quality Evaluation Center in Jacksonville is one of only two operational units of its kind outside of Germany. The QEC team includes Daimler Quality personnel, placing engineers closer to the market and to the dealers served by MBUSA. This market proximity brings greater knowledge of market-specific issues directly into the quality management process through faster parts evaluation and feedback to Daimler development. Local parts analysis also helps to improve diagnostic tools and technical information while the resulting rapid feedback to dealers increases the diagnostic skills necessary for improved "Fixed First Visit" performance - a key customer satisfaction component. -- LEARNING & PERFORMANCE CENTER -- The Learning & Performance Center is a leading edge 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. Classrooms, workshops, a computer lab, a virtual classroom webcast area, a student lounge, offices and a cafeteria are designed in an intelligent and integrated fashion all for the learners' benefit while at the same time providing increased operational effectiveness and efficiencies. MBUSA operates five Learning & Performance Centers in the U.S.: Houston, TX, Itasca, IL, Jacksonville, FL, Montvale, NJ, and Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

"I am extremely pleased that Mercedes-Benz chose Jacksonville for its Southern region headquarters," said Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton. "This is a testament to the favorable business climate we enjoy in our city and our talented workforce. I am proud to have Mercedes-Benz as a member of our business community."

About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 12 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and CL coupes and the SLS AMG supercar.

MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans in the US. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at http://www.mbusa.com/ and http://www.mbsprinterusa.com/.

Hyundai Motor America said August 31 it will shift manufacturing of its Santa Fe SUV beginning this fall from its plant in Alabama to one in West Point, Georgia run by Kia Motor Manufacturing, a move aimed at boosting production of Hyundai's popular Sonata sedan according to reports made by the Associated Press.

A St. Petersburg, FL, jury and judge sentenced Brandon Sutton to life in prison for murdering Vinson Phillips, a well known St. Petersburg body shop owner in 2007.

click to read Tampabay.com story