Southern Automtoive Journal

Page 1

Chevy Aveo LT1


Supplier Spotlight

April 2009

Nalley Acura

Audatex Launches Collision Repair Industry’s First Online Lean Six Sigma Training Course

MECHANICAL NEWS Options for Consumer Protection in Used, Subprime Car Market Committee Reviews Options For Small Business Retirement Funding

DEALER NEWS House-Senate Stimulus Reduces New Car Incentives Global Imports Named One of BMW's North America Best Dealerships in the U.S. Volkswagen Group of America Contributes $5.28 Million to Educational Institutions

Lincoln C Concept: Big Luxury In Small Package

Lincoln is breaking new ground with the Lincoln C concept, a new big idea for a small luxury car. Designed with today’s upscale, urban consumer in mind, the Lincoln C concept brings the presence and elegance of a large Lincoln to a smaller, more efficient C-sized car. “Modern luxury buyers who live and work in large, urban areas want to play their part in helping the environment by moving to a smaller vehicle, but they still want

to enjoy the luxuries of life,” said Peter Horbury, executive director of Design, The Americas. “The Lincoln C offers sensible indulgence.” According to Horbury, younger contemporary consumers with slim iPods and pocket-sized cameras have already grown accustomed to the notion of premium quality in a small package. “During the past decade, people Lincoln C Please Turn to Page 5

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Audatex Launches Collision Repair Industry’s First Online Lean Six Sigma Training Course

New offering provides a convethroughput in all areas, including averin its daily operations. The company, part nient and cost-effective way for gaining age length of jobs, parts and supplies of Solera Holdings, Inc., employs Lean a competitive edge through targeted procurement and cycle times.” Six Sigma experts and trainers known as application of Lean principles Supreme Collision, which operates “Black Belts,” the highest level of Lean Six Audatex North America, Inc. today four facilities in Ontario, Canada and parSigma certification that can be attained. announced the release of “This course proHighlights of Audatex Lean Six Sigma for Collision Repair include: the industry’s first online vides comprehensive Lean Six Sigma training coverage of Six Sigma * Streaming video and audio accessed online anytime course, a convenient and and Lean principles and * 10 modules organized for maximum value to collision repairers concepts including 5S, cost-effective way for learn* Self-paced learning and CEU units (optional) ing how to apply proven Waste, Pull, Flow, Value * Year-long, full access for each individual user Lean principles specifically Stream Mapping, Mistaketo auto collision repair. proofing and Kaizen,” The 10-module, selfsaid David Trissel, Certified Black Belt paced online course provides targeted ticipates in several direct repair programs, and Associate Vice President of Process methodologies for cycle time reduction, is applying Lean principles throughout its Excellence at Audatex. waste elimination and process improveorganization. Twelve Supreme Collision “Today’s economic conditions ment that can help quickly improve shop employees will take the Audatex training, make it more important than ever to be productivity, customer satisfaction and while managers will also attend classefficient, to make intelligent decisions, business-growth potential. The program room-based Six Sigma training on best and to focus on continuous improvealso provides optional continuing edupractices provided by a leading U.S. paint ment,” said John Kotsopoulos, Managing cation units and Audatex certification. company. Director for Audatex North America. “You “It opened my eyes,” Vartan Lean Six Sigma is at the heart could have all the right equipment in Ghazarian, Assistant Manager of Supreme of some of the world’s most successyour shop, but if you don’t have a strong Collision Centre, said of the Audatex ful companies, including Toyota Motor foundation of effective business processLean Six Sigma course. “We anticipate Corporation. Since 2006, Audatex has es in place, then you don’t truly have all a 35 percent increase in efficiency and implemented Lean Six Sigma practices the tools you need to succeed.”n

Southern Automotive Journal

April 2009

Lincoln C From Front Cover have gotten used to the idea that you could pay more money for a smaller version of the real thing,” said Horbury, citing the evolution of music players from tapes to CDs to MP3 players as an example. “The same philosophy can be applied to the automobile,” he added. “People will be happy to buy a smaller car that is better for the environment and more maneuverable in the city as long as the vehicle has all the attributes they want.” The concept’s unique size, lightweight construction The Lincoln C's silhouette is immediately distinguished by a and use of sustainable bold front profile, low shoulder, high beltline, wide C-pillar materials make the and compact bustle back. Lincoln C stand out out compromise,” said Freeman Thomas, – along with its fuel director of Ford’s Strategic Concepts economy. Group, who led the Lincoln C design Featuring a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and Ford’s all-new dry, dualclutch PowerShift six-speed transmission, the Lincoln C concept achieves 43 mpg on the highway, while offering up an impressive 180 horsepower and 180 ft.-lbs. of torque. PowerShift and outstanding driving dynamics make the Lincoln C concept fun for the driver. Plus, a sophisticated human machine interface (HMI) and forwardthinking in-car connectivity technologies bring a whole new dimension to social networking, an important facet of The center-opening doors – a classic Lincoln trait that modern customers’ rekindles memories of the 1961 Continental – allow effortless access to first- and second-row bench seats and give active lifestyles. “Connectivity is the vehicle a limousine-like quality. as much a luxury for team – David Woodhouse, Jeremy Leng, today’s younger car buyer as are the Andrei Markevich and Matt Edwards. traditional luxuries of wood, leather One of the most distinctive feaand a comfortable ride,” said Horbury. tures of the Lincoln C is its unique sil“It means being able to continue your houette. The visual mass of the car is lifestyle seamlessly while you’re on the very low to the road. A low-slung shoulmove.” der line with a wheel-at-each-corner When designers developed the stance supports a dynamic, slightly forLincoln C concept, their goal was to cremal cabin. The aim was “go kart” visual ate a C-sized automobile with both presstability combined with elegant lines ence and elegance. Their vision: a smalland surfaces. er, more fuel-efficient car that could At first glance, the silhouette is maneuver easily in congested urban immediately distinguished by a bold areas and compact parking spaces, yet front profile, low shoulder, high beltline, still provide driver and passengers with wide C-pillar and compact bustle back. levels of luxury and comfort usually The modern appearance of the reserved for larger sedans. Lincoln C reflects the timeless, icon“Lincoln C is about efficiency withApril 2009

ic elements of the Lincoln DNA: sheer surfaces bounded by defined creases; a cantilevered roof extending from a strong C-pillar; a confident double-wing chrome grille; full-width tail lamps and

rocker brightwork. The front end of the concept is unmistakably Lincoln. The signature grille encapsulates LED headlamps that – like the taillights – are made with prismatic optical elements that create depth and visual sophistication. A sculpted groove in the top of the front hood – which derives its shape from the Lincoln badge – adds a finishing touch to the grille of the car. An aluminum cantrail adds elegance to the concept by extending the beltline to the rear glass and breaking up the otherwise tall C-pillar. Aluminum is also visible inside the door apertures. The Lincoln C is absent of a B-pillar or center post. The center-opening doors – a classic Lincoln trait that rekinLincoln C Please Turn to Page 6 Southern Automotive Journal

sophisticated look. Because of their unique shape dles memories of the 1961 Continental and the imperceptible way that they – allow effortless access to first- and are mounted to the floor, the benches second-row bench seats and give the appear to be floating inside the cabin. vehicle a limousine-like quality. The steering wheel and instruSleek side mirrors house both ment panel also seem to be suspended advanced rear-view camera and blind in air. All of these elements combine to spot detection technologies. enhance the concept’s futuristic look, An all-glass roof provides a modopenness, and give the impression of ern, futuristic look. The expansive opendynamic space within the vehicle. ing illuminates the cabin and enhances The steering wheel is hubless, the sense of spaciousness inside the lending the driver an unobstructed car. view of the instrument panel. The Inside, the Lincoln C concept welglossy white rim rotates around a stacomes driver and passengers to a tionary chrome ring with chrome The steering wheel is hubless, lending the driver an space that looks more like the livshifter paddles on both sides. unobstructed view of the instrument panel. ing room of a contemporary urban Simple toggles embedded into the loft than the inside of a car. left and right sides of the wheel Elements of classic Lincoln control the vehicle’s navigation system DNA permeate the cabin, including: and menu selection. a bright, clean, light color palette; The panoramic instrument panel authentic materials such as wood is divided into three sections and and metal; ambient lighting; jeweldesigned with a mixture of digital and like chrome details; bench seating; analog components. The left side conand the symmetrical design of the tains Lincoln’s signature HMI menus instrument panel, which thoughtfully and driver-related information. The serves both driver and passengers. center portion displays a multi-funcThe interior’s all-white color tional screen displaying navigation, palette -- from roof to seats to SYNC details and a life-like cusfloor -- is stunning. Subtle chrome Because of their unique shape and the imperceptible tom avatar to help make everyday accents on the seats, instrument way that they are mounted to the floor, the benches journeys more seamless and other panel, door panels and floor appear to be floating inside the cabin. helpful, driver-oriented options. glimmer like fine jewelry. A light Soft, white ambient lightgray wood veneer – made from ing creates a relaxing atmosphere recycled wood – provides a striking inside the cabin. The lighting is intecontrast against the white leather on grated into the C-pillar with a front the instrument panel and door panface that displays the Lincoln badge. els. The headliner is white Alcantara The roof also features an intesuede. 
Because the Lincoln C concept grated rearview mirror and a chromeis two inches wider than conventional trimmed Web camera that rotates C-class vehicles, it offers the roomito the right or left, depending on ness of a 1961 Continental at almost whether the driver or the passenger half the length. In modern terms, the is communicating via the Internet. A vehicle has the overall length of a chrome air vent follows the shape of Ford Focus and the overall width of the glass roof. a Lincoln MKZ. “While the most luxurious One of the most eye-catching elements of the seating Designers took full advan- is the laser-engraved floral etching on the passenger and indulgent products often come tage of the extra space in the inte- side seats and floor and on the back of the driver’s in the smallest packages, unforturior of the Lincoln C by incorporat- seat. nately this hasn’t been true of most ing luxurious bench seating in the small cars recently,” said J Mays, front and back rows. They are crafted occupants for optimized driver vision. Ford’s group vice president of Design. from luxurious, chromium-free leather One of the most eye-catching “With the Lincoln C, we’ve remixed the and filled with soy foam. The seats are elements of the seating is the lasertraditional small car formula, taking the thin and lightweight, but because they engraved floral etching on the passenmost engaging technologies and wrapwere designed to an ergonomic comfort ger side seats and floor and on the ping them in a design fit for today’s curve, they are extremely comfortable. back of the driver’s seat. It is a light, airy urban luxury customer – without sacriThere is a single headrest on the pattern that gives the interior a refined, ficing style or substance.”n Lincoln C From Page 5

Southern Automotive Journal

left and a double headrest on the right for passengers in both rows. All the headrests automatically retract without

April 2009

U.S. Senate Banking Committee Reviews Modernizing Insurance Regulation The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing on “Perspectives on Modernizing Insurance Regulation.” Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the committee, deemed the insurance industry as a “vital component of the economy.” Further, Dodd recognized that the insurance industry is primarily regulated at a state level, but as it becomes increasingly national and international, the industry needs to be modernized accordingly. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., ranking member of the committee, raised concerns about the adequacy of state regulation of insurance. The witnesses were Michael McRaith, director, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, on behalf of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners; The Hon. Frank Keating, president and chief executive officer, the American Council of Life Insurers; William R. Berkley, chairman and chief executive officer, W.R. Berkley

Corporation, on behalf of the American Insurance Association; Spencer Houldin, president, Ericson Insurance Services, on behalf of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America; John Hill, president and chief operating officer, Magna Carta Companies, on behalf of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies; Frank Nutter, president, the Reinsurance Association of America; and Robert Hunter, director of Insurance, the Consumer Federation of America. William R. Berkley, chairman of the American Insurance Association, addressed the regulation of property and casualty insurance: “1. Property-casualty insurance is critical to our economy, but it does not pose the same types of systemic risk challenges as most other financial services sectors. 2. Nonetheless, because propertycasualty insurance is so essential to the functioning of the economy and is especially critical in times of crisis and catastro-

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phe, functional federal insurance regulation will enhance the industry’s effectiveness and thus should be included as part of any well-constructed federal program to analyze, manage and minimize systemic risk. 3. Given the national and global nature of risk assumed by property and casualty insurers, establishment of an independent federal insurance regulator is the only effective way of including property-casualty insurance in such a program.” Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, emphasized that “Repeal of the antitrust exemption in the McCarran-Ferguson Act must be a part of any efforts by Congress to reform insurance regulation. Collusion in the pricing of property/casualty insurance should not be allowed in the 21st century.” The Automotive Service Association supports the federal regulation of property and casualty insurance.n

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Southern Automotive Journal

Vehicle Repairs Cost an Average 34% More at New Car Dealerships Than Independent Repair Shops Vehicle repairs cost an average 34 percent more at new car dealerships than at independent repair shops, resulting in $11.7 billion in excess costs annually to consumers, according to a first-of-its-kind study just released by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). The study reveals dramatic differences in the costs of parts and labor between domestic and import vehicle nameplates and from city to city. Consumers in Los Angeles pay as much as 46.8 percent more at dealerships than independent repair shops for repairs. The cost to consumers of specific repairs also varies widely. For example, the average cost for radiator repair for a foreign nameplate vehicle, including parts and labor, is $325.99 higher at a dealer than at an independent shop; and the cost to purchase and install front brake pads on a foreign nameplate vehicle is $138.92

more at a dealer than at an independent shop. AAIA’s Vehicle Repair Cost Analysis: Comparing New Car Dealerships vs. Independents looks at the parts and labor costs of 10 vehicle repair jobs for domestic and foreign nameplate vehicles in six cities across the country, including Boston, Newark, Atlanta, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Seattle. “In response to repeated requests by congressional leaders studying the merits of the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair legislation, AAIA commissioned a study to once and for all provide a comprehensive analysis that validated the contention that it costs consumers more to repair their vehicle at new car dealerships than at independent repair shops,” said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. Highlights of the study include: •Vehicle repairs for parts and labor

averaged 34.3 percent more at new car dealers than at independent repair shops. •Foreign nameplate repairs performed at dealers averaged 36.8 percent more than at independent repair shops while repairs performed on domestic nameplates averaged 31.5 percent more at dealerships than at independent repair shops. •Total 2008 cost difference for consumers having repair work performed at car dealers rather than independent repair shops for the 10 jobs equaled 11.7 billion. Copies of the study are available free to AAIA members. The cost to nonAAIA members is $400. To obtain a copy, contact AAIA Member Services at 301654-6664 or e-mail aaia@aftermarket. org or visit the AAIA association online commerce center at www.aftermarket. org.n

Iowa State Rep. Nathan Reichert has introduced House Bill 422, which establishes motor vehicle emissions standards for passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles beginning with model year 2011. H.B. 422 is based on and similar to the California motor vehicle emissions standards and is consistent with federal


similar to that of the state of California will not achieve, in the aggregate, greater motor vehicle pollution reductions than the federal standards and compliance program for any such model year.” The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has opposed new emissions standards that also include super warranties for some vehicles.n

Iowa House to Consider Vehicle Emission Standards The bill includes a provision stating: “The [Iowa Environmental Protection Commission] may decline or adopt all or part of the California motor vehicle emissions standards if it determines in writing, based on substantial evidence and after a public hearing, that the emissions standards and a compliance program

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House-Senate Stimulus Conference Reduces New Car Incentives The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was finalized after members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives held a conference to address bill differences. After being passed by Congress, the Stimulus Plan is pending on the desk of President Barack Obama. Congressional members who conferred on Thursday, Feb. 12, drastically decreased the Auto Ownership

Tax Assistance language in the Stimulus Plan. The $11.5 billion tax break that was originally proposed by the Senate is now down to $1.7 billion in the final version of the bill, with tighter limits on who qualifies. However, the total cost of the package is estimated to be $790 billion. This provision creates a new tax deduction for state and local sales taxes paid on new car purchases. A phase-out

of the deduction begins with single filers at a $125,000 adjusted gross income and couples at a $250,000 adjusted gross income. The bill, on the way to the White House, expands the current tax credits for electric plug-in vehicles to 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer. This consumer tax credit will be 10 percent of the vehicle purchase cost with a maximum credit of $7,500.n

Judiciary Committee Holds Patent Reform Hearing The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing March 10 on “Patent Reform in the 111th Congress: Legislation and Recent Court Decisions.” The hearing focused on the importance of intellectual property to the economy and on Senate Bill 515, the Patent Reform Act of 2009. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman, said: “Intellectual property is critical to our nation’s economy. It is an engine that drives our contemporary economy and will fuel our future. Industries that rely on intellectual property protection accounted for roughly half of all U.S. exports and represented an estimated 40 percent of U.S. economic growth in 2006, the last year in which our economy grew in all four quarters. Many of the jobs and expansion that can help us begin to recover from the costly economic recession will have their origin in our patent- and copyright-based indus-

tries. These range from computers and software programs, to new agriculture products, to our movies and music. “Americans suffer when their intellectual property is stolen, they suffer when counterfeit goods displace sales of the legitimate products, and they suffer when counterfeit products actually harm them, as is sometimes the case with fake pharmaceuticals and faulty electrical products.” Witnesses testified with many suggestions for the Patent Reform Act of 2009. Of particular interest to automotive repairers were comments made by Herbert Wamsley, executive director of the Intellectual Property Owners Association. Wamsley emphasized the role of intellectual property in the automotive industry. He quoted a statement by the AFL-CIO executive council: “Today, the automobile industry accounts for fully one-quarter of all

American manufacturing jobs and output. The industry represents a complex integration of advanced manufacturing processes, technologies and materials, and is a critical driver of innovation across every manufacturing subsector. It is vital that we maintain the strength of our intellectual property protections to ensure that innovation, production and jobs can be maintained and increased here at home. Patent protection is a manufacturing and a jobs issue.” The Automotive Service Association’s (ASA) Government Affairs and Collision Division Operations committees have been reviewing various state and federal parts policy initiatives. The committees have been concerned that the parts policy debate has not focused enough on parts quality. Congress’ actions on intellectual property could impact automotive repairers and the quality of parts.n

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2009 Mazda6: The Evolution Of Zoom-Zoom The original MAZDA6, introduced for the 2003 model year, made Zoom-Zoom the two most evocative words in the automotive lexicon. This sport sedan was the first Mazda vehicle to benefit from the spirit of a true sports car infused in a fivepassenger, 4-door sedan. Lessons learned from the first MAZDA6 and Mazda’s newer vehicles-especially the Mazda CX-7 and award-winning CX9-encouraged a clean-sheet approach to building the best mid-size sport sedan the US market has ever experienced. Most important, though, this is the first Mazda vehicle designed, engineered, developed, and manufactured on U..S. soil with the intention of surpassing American customer needs in countless categories. Compared to the original MAZDA6, the new edition rides on a 4.5-inch longer wheelbase (109.8-in) with wider front and rear track. This larger package not only facilitates increases in every significant interior measurement, it moves the MAZDA6 from the bottom to the top of the mid-size class as defined by SAE and EPA volume measures. The new powertrains rise to the task of moving the new MAZDA6 with authority. The MAZDA6 i’s new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine has 170-horsepower while the new MAZDA6 s’s 3.7-liter V6 produces a rousing 272 horsepower. Along with output gains ranging from nine to 28 percent, fuel economy also is better. Program Engineer Hiroshi Kajiyama established ambitious goals and high standards in the development of the new MAZDA6. To be widely recognized as the best vehicle available in the midsize market, the MAZDA6’s underlying concept rests solidly on three fundamental pillars; a sporty appearance integrated with a highly dynamic character, 12

Southern Automotive Journal

aunique experience, and an insightful package. “The next generation 2009 MAZDA6, with its new platform, V6 and I4 engines, suspension, interior and exterior design, and long list of standard and available convenience features is the most sophisticated, purpose-built machine that Mazda has launched in over a decade,” Robert Davis, senior vice president, product development and quality, MNAO. “Armed with evolved Zoom-Zoom, the new MAZDA6 is ready to demonstrate its strengths and assume a leadership role in the thriving mid-size segment.” When the MAZDA6 design effort commenced in the spring of 2004, Chief Designer Youichi Sato summed up the opportunity represented by a new sport sedan with world-wide reach as “Time to be Japanese.” Sato challenged all of his designers working on the new MAZDA6 in four studios under his leadership (Hiroshima, Yokohama, Frankfurt, Irvine) to create a wholly fresh, upscale, premium - yet still sporty - appearance for the North American MAZDA6. Before the sketching began, the fundamental April 2009

mission was defined by three key guidelines: 1. Evolve the ZoomZoom spirit to the next level. 2. Infuse the new MAZDA6 with a dignified sports appearance. 3. Ensure that the design reflects Japanese culture, aesthetics, and spirit. T h e bold exterior design of the MAZDA6 features a front fender reminiscent of the one found on today’s RX8. Sculpture that flows from the front fascia, through the headlamp, over the top of the front-wheel opening, and into the side surface ahead of the front door achieves two aims: it accents the importance of wheels to the MAZDA6’s athletic character and it visually trims the length of the front overhang. The graceful S-curve that flows smoothly from the highest point of the roof to the subtle lip at the very end of the decklid’s top surface and the rear glass that melts into the decklid give the MAZDA6 an exceptionally sleek appearance from any angle. The harmony of sharp edges with richly curved surfaces adds to the MAZDA6’s visual value. Powerful wheel arches, attached like wings to an airplane’s fuselage, create an athletic stance and instill a dynamic character. Large areas of both doors are perfectly smooth and taut to exhibit blank-space beauty. Fine attention to detail is clearly evident in the Mazda6 Please Turn to Page 15

House Consumer Protection Subcommittee Discusses Options for Consumer Protection in Used, Subprime Car Market The U.S. House of Representatives dealer warranty, and if so, its basic terms depth: Implemented Jan. 30, 2009, the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s and conditions. Harrington said the results NMVTIS provides a national database of Subcommittee on Consumer, Trade and showed that the majority of those survehicles compiled from state, salvage Consumer Protection held a hearing March veyed find the Used Car Rule useful as is, and insurer reporting. It requires insur5, 2009, to discuss “Consumer Protection while others suggest minor changes to the ance companies and salvage yards to in the Used and Subprime Car Market.” existing rule. report vehicles that are severely damaged The Honorable Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill., The FTC believes that an online dataor totaled, and provides consumers with chairman, said in his opening remarks, base such as the NMVTIS is useful, but woraccess to such information as odometer “While the mortgage and home foreclories that the “digital divide” - those with readings and theft records. Data is presure crisis has garnered much deserved convenient access to the Internet vs. those dicted to be more comprehensive, up-toattention in Congress and in the media, with limited or no access - will perpetuate date and less expensive than some private there has been much less focus on similar any potential challenges of the used car sector reports. Burch said this electronic problems in the purchase of automobiles market for lower-income families. Subprime Car Please Turn to Page 22 ... Evidence suggests that fraudulent pracBurch described the NMVTIS in tices with regard to both the condition and financing of used cars are on the rise. When it comes to the condition of vehicles, consumers are - 2 nights d place prize n • inners) w ts too often unaware of previous damh of ig prize - 4 n transportation responsibility e c la p t s age inflicted on the vehicle.” e only (hotel packag Rush specifically mentioned Nashville - Millenium Hotel abusive financing schemes and New Orleans - Maison Duprey frauds related to the purchase Bourbon Street of automobiles and described Panama City - Resort Quest at the National Motor Vehicle Title Seychelles Condo Information System (NMVTIS), which he said, “will eventually be a very valuable tool to aid consumers in obtaining information about the $300.00 Third condition of their vehicles by estab$200.00 Fourth lishing a database in which states and other stakeholders share their title information.” Witnesses Eileen Harrington, acting director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission (FTC); James H. Burch II, acting director, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Department of Direct 678-259-9500 Justice; Rosemary Shahan, president, Consumers for Automobile Toll 877-622-2871 Reliability and Safety; and John W. Van Alst, staff attorney, National FAX 678-259-9555 Consumer Law Center, testified in support of improving information Call Ken McMillan, accessibility and efficiency dealing Your Trusted Name in Acura Parts with automobile titles. Harrington discussed the FTC’s request for public comments on the effectiveness and impact of the Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule (Used Car Rule). The Used Car Rule requires used car dealers to disclose on a window sticker (the Buyers Guide) whether they are offering a

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Mazda6 From Page 12 taillights’ intricate LED components. All lights nestle jewel-like within their surrounding surfaces. While a few distinctive Mazda interior design elements, such as round instruments and a three-spoke steering wheel accompanied by a T-shaped instrument panel, were a given from the start of this design project, new priorities called for an otherwise fresh approach. The quality of execution had to be the highest Mazda had ever achieved in any US production. Surface textures, gloss levels, parting lines, and decorative areas all received careful attention. The interior needed an expansive feeling without losing its focus on fun for the driver combined with comfort and safety for all passengers. To achieve that, a bi-level theme was adopted: a roomy bottom zone with solid and safe upper areas. Blacked-out instrument faces with brighter metallic markings, needles, and trim gives the MAZDA6 interior an exquisitely detailed look. Attractively curved surfaces blend the console into the instrument panel. Providing customers with a vehicle that’s utterly dependable, perfectly designed and manufactured, and pleasing to a broad spectrum of customers is every company’s dream. Achieving these lofty goals requires a deep commitment and the willingness to sweat innumer-

able details. Elevating the MAZDA6’s quality so that it becomes the mid-size segment’s shining star was a monumental undertaking. More than 50 pre-production MA ZDA6s were driven around the clock for more t h a n 800,000 miles each in early

2008. Before leaving the AutoAlliance I nte r n a t i o n a l (AAI) plant, every production MAZDA6 is run on a chassis dynamometer to check shift quality, electrical performance, and other functions. Sixteen cars per day are driven a few miles on an AAI track to test the steering for accuracy, drift, and pull with a torque meter. Major revisions to the front suspension and a re-calibrated damper valve in the power steering gear are the primary changes that helped achieve vastly improved straight-ahead tracking over a wide variety of road surfaces. To verify that wind and road noise are lower

than a specific limit, an Aachen Head audio recorder is belted into the vehicles for inspections. While the past inspection process was strictly visual checks, there are more hands-on and dynamic checks for the new MAZDA6 than ever before. The MAZDA6’s heavily contoured front fender design posed a major manufacturing challenge. The depth of the draw (how far the metal must be stretched) is well beyond standard limits. To fulfill the designers’ wishes without compromise, engineers divided the process into three steps using three stages of stamping dies. To minimize wind noise while improving fuel economy, ambitious aerodynamic targets were set early in the MAZDA6’s developmental process. A large panel under the powertrain, plus air deflectors near the front tires, and two covers in the rear floor area, smooth under-car air flow. Computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis helped eliminate noise-causing turbulence observed in the outside rear-view mirror mounting areas. Wind-tunnel tests reported a final drag coefficient of 0.27, a 10-percent improvement over the original MAZDA6, and a number lower than a Porsche 911. Very low lift at high speeds and in cross winds improves both directional stability and driver confidence.n

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Committee Reviews Options For Small Business Retirement Funding The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Businesses held a hearing Feb. 25 to discuss the “Drop in Retirement Savings: The Challenges Small Business Face Funding and Maintaining Retirement Plans in a Struggling Economy.” Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, D-N.Y., chairwoman, stated in her opening remarks: “As the economic downturn hits retirement funds, small businesses that provide these benefits are finding it even harder to stay afloat. Employers that tried to do the right thing and offer a secure retirement to their workers are being hit the hardest ... In today’s hearing, we will explore ways to help small


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businesses that have offered retirement plans, but are now in a difficult position because of poor decisions made on Wall Street.” Velazquez proposed solutions for small business owners looking to maintain their retirement plans. Recognizing the urgency, she first suggested capping the amount of losses that small business owners are responsible for paying during market downturns. Another approach would allow small businesses to look further ahead for pension values when calculating how much they must pay to employee’s retirement funds. Witnesses were Stephen L. Dobrow, CEO of Primark Benefits,

April 2009

on behalf of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA); Catherine Collinson, president of Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies; and Andrew Keeler, certified financial planner of Everhart Financial Group Inc. The witnesses testified in support of small business retirement funds. Dobrow noted in his remarks the burden of the current economic and financial markets crisis on small businesses. He targeted two important areas where relief is significantly needed: defined benefit pension plan funding and 401(k) safe harbor plans. He pointed out that 11.7 million employees work for small business employers (less than 100 employees) that sponsor retirement plans. He called on the government to assist in regulatory relief for nonelective safe harbor 401(k) plans and funding relief for defined benefit pension plans. Collinson provided data on the importance of small businesses in America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, small businesses (less than 500 employees) represent 99.7 percent of the total firms and 50.9 percent of the work force in the United States. Collinson also revealed results from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies’ annual survey. Approximately 39 percent of small business workers expect their 401(k) and IRAs to be their primary source of income after retirement. Keeler supported Velazquez’s sense of urgency by pointing out the investing public’s doubt in the value of saving for retirement due to retirement assets’ recent shrinking by nearly 40 percent.n

2009 Chevrolet Aveo: New, More Powerful Engine Increases Fun Factor While Maintaining Efficiency

T h e fuel-efficient Chevrolet Aveo is an uncompromising performer, with a great design, a smooth, safe driving experience and amenities that are rare in the segment. For 2009, a more powerful engine, the 1.6L Gen 3 Ecotec, is standard in all models, deliver-

ing more usable horsepower with the same great fuel efficiency. “Aveo characterizes the Chevrolet mission of delivering a great-looking, fun-to-drive car that is fuel efficient,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “Its great fuel economy continues to be a smart choice for customers seeking solutions to the dependence on petroleum, as the Aveo offers the fuel efficiency of many hybrid vehicles.” The 2009 Aveo lineup includes the sedan and Aveo5 – a sporty five-door hatchback that is redesigned on the outside and inside. The new design features Chevy’s bold, global front-end design with refined details including prominent, Malibu-inspired grilles separated by a bowtie emblem. Both the Aveo sedan and Aveo5 offer smart-looking styling and roomy interiors characterized by thoughtful details and refinement. They also deliver confident, dynamic driving experiences and offer generous features usually seen

neered and validated for a broad range of driving and road conditions around the world and tuned for a dynamic, well-planted driving experience. The suspension system features a MacPherson strut front suspension with coil springs and stabilizer bar, and an independent, torsion beam

in more expensive cars, challenging the expectations of what an entry-level car can deliver. The Aveo5’s signature “tall car” design boasts smooth lines and short front and rear overhangs that give it a bold personality. It was conceived for maximum versatility and practicality, such as the convenience of easy access for both front and rear passengers, and the versatility of a hatchback configuration with ample cargo space that can reach all the way to the front of the cabin. New exterior styling for 2009 includes a front-end design that leaves no doubt that the Aveo5 is a contemporary Chevy. Signature, Malibu-inspired upper and lower grilles are flanked by sweeping headlamps that give this small car big attitude. At the rear, a lower fascia insert and roof-mounted spoiler complete the sporty look. Chevy Aveo models are engi-

axle-mount compound link-type rear suspension with gas-charged shocks. Power-assisted, variable-rate rack-andpinion steering is standard. The steering gear is mounted on the front suspension cross member for precise action and stability. Power-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes are standard ; a fourchannel ABS system is available. The four-sensor system – one at each wheel – incorporates electronic brake force distribution, which balances braking performance based on such factors as road conditions and the weight of passengers and/or cargo. Drive-enhancing features of the Aveo also include: 1. A wide, solid stance and long wheelbase (97.6 inches / 2479 mm) with a front tread of 57.1 inches and rear tread of 56.3 inches deliver a smooth, confiAveo Please Turn To Page 28

April 2009

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New National Survey Drives Home Need for Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act A nationwide survey of randomly chosen car owners and independent repair shops illustrates a strong desire for Congress to act quickly and pass “The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act.” A survey of 800 consumers and an additional 800 independent repair shops concluded that 82 percent of the car owners favor The Right to Repair Act, with 65 percent “strongly” favoring its passage. And, an overwhelming 94 percent of decision-makers at independent repair shops favor passage of the bill. “The support for passage of The Right to Repair Act crosses all demographic lines, making this legislation an important consumer bill,” said Ray Pohlman, president, The Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE). The poll, conducted by the bi-partisan combination of The Tarrance Group and Lake Research Partners, showed 81 percent of 18 to 34 year old vehicle owners strongly favor the legislation, while seniors strongly favored the bill by 72 percent. In addition, the survey shows The Right to Repair Act crosses party lines, showing strong support among proclaimed Republicans, Democrats and Independents. The breakdown among party affiliation was almost equal, with 81 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of Independents supporting passage. The Right to Repair Act crosses all economic segments from those with household incomes of less than $40,000 (79 percent) to those with more than $90,000 (88 percent), and from those whose oldest vehicle is less than four years old (82 percent) and those whose oldest vehicle is more than 10 years old (80 percent). The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act allows motoring consumers to choose where, how and by whom to have their vehicles repaired, whose parts they wish to purchase, even work on their vehicles themselves. Vehicles that are 1994 and newer (and some earlier models) are equipped with computers that control most of the vehicles’ vital systems, from brakes to tire pressure. Car companies have locked car owners and independent repair shops

out of their repair information in order across the country. Now, more than ever to monopolize vehicle repairs, costing before during these challenging ecoconsumers more money, inconvenience nomic times, car owners depend on and jeopardizing their safety. independent repair shops to provide Among the independent repair affordable, convenient and effective shops, 72 percent said they had to turn repairs for their vehicles. Congress must away work because of a lack of needed take action to ensure that the vehicle information or tools, while 90 percent owners and not the car companies have reported losing productive time every the right to decide where their vehicle is month, including those losing more than repaired,” said Lowe. 10 hours a month. A majority, 59 percent, “Our repairers are not asking for take at least one car per month to a new proprietary information or blue prints, car dealership themselves to have the just the information that allows them to repairs, while 69 percent reported hav- complete a repair job and not have to ing problems getting access to needed turn business away.” information and equipment to perform “In this bill, we are asking for the the repairs. ability to continue to service those “This is a growing problem for car motoring consumers who choose to owners, especially for those whose vehi- come to the automotive aftermarket for cles are now coming out of warranty, and affordable repairs and service. It’s time for independent repair shops, as more to put consumers back in the drivers’ computerized vehicles come off of the seats,” concluded Pohlman.n assembly lines,” said Aaron Lowe, vice president of Government Affairs for the Automotive Aftermarket I n d u s t r y Association (AAIA). Volume 13 Issue No. 4 According to the survey, 80 percent of repairers are forced to use Southern Automotive Jim Tucker Contributors “back door” chanJournal Publisher Dennis Martin nels or friends at P.O. Box 675097 Ami Vonesh Marietta, Ga 30006-0009 new car dealerMichele Tucker Joyce Ethridge (770) 321-9920 ships, in order to Editor Russ Heaps E-Mail access repair mation, and 78 percent reported that they must Southern Automotive Journal (ISSN: 1092-6321) is published often tell car ownmonthly by Southern Automotive Journal Inc. P.O. Box 675097, ers to return to a Marietta, Ga 30006-0009.SAJ accepts no responsibility for the new car dealership opinions, views statements of the authors or for claims made by for repairs. advertisers. Views expressed by writers are not necessarily those “This situaof the publication. Subscription: $12.00 per year. tion is unacceptNo representation is made as to the accuracy or the completeable for the autoness of the information provided by this publication. Entire conmotive aftermartents copyright 2009. All rights reserved. ket industry which employs five million people in 495,000 locations April 2009

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Subprime Car From Page 13 exchange between states will hopefully provide a synchronization of automobile titles, and will be more effective in protecting states and consumers from unsafe vehicles. Shahan’s two main issues are reliability and safety, pointing out that more buyers are now starting out with used cars as opposed to new cars in previous years. She emphasized the importance of quality in the transaction of purchasing a used car for two reasons. First, she argues that in this financial crisis, people depend on quality vehicles to deliver them safely and on-time to work. If a purchase proves to be unsatisfactory, it can set a consumer back in a number of different ways. Second, Shahan discussed the number of used car dealers going out of business. This is also a risk for potential buyers. Van Alst emphasized that while some cars are sold as high quality, those that are sold fraudulently, along with loan abuses, are hurting not only the car buyer, but also the honorable car dealers. The Automotive Service Association (ASA), as a member of the Salvage Auto Fraud Reform (SAFR) Coalition, sent a letter to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate advocating that the current system for tracking totaled vehicles is untimely, incomplete and inconvenient for the public to access. The letter states, “Progress with the National Motor Vehicle Titling Information System (NMVTIS) database for identifying totaled vehicles is a valuable first step, but must be supplemented with more modern technology from the private sector to provide increased transparency for used car buyers.” The letter asks members of Congress to support committee consideration of the bipartisan legislation that has recently been introduced providing used car buyers an important tool for making better decisions about vehicle safety and fair market value. ASA supports legislation that requires insurers to make additional total-loss data available to the public, thereby “red-flagging” the vehicle forever, and putting consumers on notice of a vehicle’s serious damage history.n

22 Southern Automotive Journal

April 2009

J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Buick and Jaguar Tie to Rank Highest for Vehicle Dependability Buick and Jaguar each rank highest in vehicle dependability in a tie, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study(SM) (VDS) released in March. Buick improves from a sixth-place ranking in 2008, while Jaguar improves from 10th place. Following in the top five rankings this year are Lexus, Toyota and Mercury. Toyota garners five segment awards--more than any other nameplate in 2009--for the Highlander, Prius, Sequoia, Solara and Tundra. Lexus follows with four segment awards for the ES 330 (in a tie with the Acura RL), GX 470, LS 430 and SC 430. Lincoln captures two awards for the Mark LT and Zephyr. Models by Acura, Buick, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Mercury, Nissan and Scion each rank highest in one segment. “Buick has ranked among the top 10 nameplates each year since the study was last redesigned in 2003, while Jaguar has moved rapidly up the rankings,” said David Sargent, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. “Lexus remains a very strong competitor in long-term quality. In particular, the Lexus LS 430 sets the industry standard for dependability, with fewer problems reported than any other model in the study.” The study, which measures problems experienced by original owners of threeyear-old (2006 model year) vehicles, has been redesigned to include 202 different problem symptoms across all areas of the vehicle. Overall dependability is determined by the level of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with

a lower score reflecting higher quality. The study is used extensively by vehicle manufacturers worldwide to help design and build better vehicles-which typically retain higher resale values--and by consumers to help them make more-informed choices for both new and used vehicles. “In the current economic climate, consumers are delaying new-vehicle purchases and keeping their vehicles longer--the average age of a vehicle

April 2009

at trade-in has increased to 73 months in 2009 from 65 months in 2006,” said Sargent. “This makes vehicle dependability even more critical. Automakers have improved long-term dependability by an average of 10 percent each year since the inception of the study, which is a testament to the industry’s commitment to continuously improve and sustain quality, especially longterm quality. Making improvements in Vehicle Dependability Turn to Page 28

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Volkswagen Group of America Contributes $5.28 Million to Educational Institutions in Tennessee

‘Partners in Education’ will support teachers and students across the state; focus on sustainable mobility research and education initiatives Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations, LLC, today announced a five-year, $5.28 million philanthropic commitment designed to serve as a catalyst for educational enrichment in the state of Tennessee. The company’s “Partners in Education” program includes funding for Fisk University, Hamilton County Public Schools, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Tennessee State University

(TSU), The University of Memphis (U of M), The University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC) and The University of Tennessee - Knoxville (UTK). The program will also leverage and support the Volkswagen Group’s relationship with Chattanooga State Community College, the lead institution for workforce training at the company’s new plant in Chattanooga. Dr. Horst Neumann, member of the Board of Management Volkswagen AG for Human Resources and Organization; Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Group of

America, Chattanooga Operations; and Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, unveiled the philanthropic initiative. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, Congressman Zach Wamp and representatives from recipient institutions also were in attendance. The event took place at Calvin Donaldson Elementary School, part of the Hamilton County Public School system, one of the “Partners in Education” fund recipients. “We are employers, but we are also neighbors. That means pitching in and doing our part to make life better for the entire community,” said Dr. Neumann. “Our corporate philosophy demands that it is not enough to merely have an interest in education. We have an obligation to turn interest into action. If we’re going to create first-rate minds, we have to create first-rate schools.” “Our $5.28 million, five-year education program is a comprehensive project that will serve as a catalyst for improvement,” said Mr. Fischer. “Our program will benefit students from kindergarten through high school; college undergraduates and graduate students; and scholars and researchers at the state’s premier research institutions.” “This is a truly joyous occasion. We have already made a significant contribution to education in Virginia, our corporate home. Today we’re making a significant commitment to education in our new home,” said Mr. Jacoby. “We’re not just building a plant. We’re building a partnership. We’re putting down roots in Chattanooga.” In addition to Neumann, Fischer and Jacoby, Gov. Phil Bredesen also participated in making the official philanthropic announcement. In addition to Neumann, Fischer and Jacoby, Gov. Phil Bredesen also participated in making the official philanthropic announcement. “Today’s announcement of ‘Partners in Education’ demonstrates the willingness of Volkswagen Group of America to partner with K-12 and higher education in Tennessee to help prepare VW Contribution Please Turn to Page 25


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April 2009

VW Contribution From Page 24

joining that great tradition even before they have finished work on their new auto assembly facility.” U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker also showed their support. “I commend the Volkswagen Group of America for recognizing the importance that education plays in raising our quality of life, since better schools mean better jobs,” said Alexander, a former U.S. secretary of education. “This generous gift shows the strong commitment that Volkswagen has to Tennessee and our state’s future, and I am pleased that

Volkswagen is being such a strong corporate citizen. By investing in the lives of our children and workers, Volkswagen has become a leader in Tennessee, and we all appreciate its support.” “When Volkswagen chose Tennessee last summer, we knew part of their decision was about shared values,” said Corker. “Today’s announcement reinforces our shared commitment to education and shows that Volkswagen won’t just be building cars in Tennessee, they will be helping us build bright minds and a stronger state.”n

‘Partners in Education’ demonstrates the willingness of Volkswagen Group of America to partner with K12 and higher education in Tennessee to help prepare our young people for the highly skilled jobs of the future,” said Gov. Bredesen. “We’ve worked hard to raise academic standards and make education more relevant to the demands of the modern workplace, and this initiative is the type of partnership that is good for business and vital to the future of our state’s economy.” State and local officials including Congressman Zach Wamp, Chattanooga City Mayor Ron Littlefield and Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey also helped Volkswagen come vewith 30 Years of GM e St memorate the “Partners in m o c Parts Experience We l Education” program. Local We 770.274.1131 “East Tennessee is Toll Free: 1.800.727.5920 extremely pleased to welcome STEVE Volkswagen to our state, not only for the investment and GM Exclusise Parts Team le ! jobs that the company will bring lab i a Direct GM Av to our region, but to make them 706-776-1144 Now part of our community. We Toll Free 866-262-7407 appreciate Volkswagen’s genDONALD Fax MANAGER erosity through the Partners in Ext. 706-776-7398 125 Education program to enrich educational opportunities for our students, and for the company’s willingness to get involved JIMMY KEN AJ ROGER and partner with our academic EXT. EXT. EXT. 126 135 123 institutions,” said Wamp. “Here in Hamilton County, Direct Conncect Sales for GM - Chrysler -Aftermarket we share Volkswagen’s commitment to preparing young people for high-skill, high-wage jobs,” said Hamilton County KELI CHRIS MATT FRANKLIN ANDY LEE KEVIN ARNOLD Mayor Ramsey. “Thank you for Local Local Local Local Local Local Local Local engaging with us to support 478.971.1379 770.274.1127 770.274.1121 770.274.1130 770.274.1128 770.274.1122 770.274.1123 770.274.1126 Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: Toll Free: our public schools just as you 1.800.727.5912 1.800.727.4702 1.800.727.5593 1.866.399.4245 1.800.727.5611 1.800.344.9017 1.800.727.5015 1.800.727.5641 FAX are partnering with our whole 478.971.8248 Customer Support community to create thousands Customer Ser vice Team of new jobs.” “For decades, Chattanoogans have utilized CHUCK BRENDA public-private partnerships to AFTERMARKET MANAGER MARKETING MANAGER CLIFF JERRY DAN JIM transform our community into one of the best mid-sized cities in the country,” said Chattanooga City Mayor Ron Littlefield. “I’m thankful that Volkswagen is April 2009

Southern Automotive Journal


Nalley Acura "Selling Cars One Piece at a Time" by Russ Heaps The new parts manager, Jeff Miller, may not yet be a familiar face at Nalley Acura in Marietta, Ga; after all he has been there less than 90 days. However, he is no stranger to the Nalley Automotive Group, having managed the parts department at Nalley Chrysler Jeep in Roswell since 1996. He began his automotive career there 10 years earlier when the store was called Roswell Jeep Eagle. "I started out washing cars," he remembered, "and then I moved up to driving the parts truck." Inheriting a well-oiled machine, at Nalley Acura, Miller oversees an operation with 12 employees and an inventory that averages about $650,000. Although a new parts manager often faces big problems requiring sweeping improvements, such was not the case when Miller arrived at his new job. "It was pretty clean," he explained. "The guys before me did a really good job with the store." Many of his staff have parts experience of a decade or more. Including Miller, the total of their years in the business exceeds 100. Nalley Automotive Group has a reputation for being a one of the area's more popular employers. Earning the Atlanta Business Chronicle's "Best Places to Work" award two years in a row reflects Nalley's success at attracting and retaining quality staff members. All of the counter people in Nalley Acura's parts department have at least 10 years with the store. "There are a lot of good people here," Miller said. In particular Miller singled 26

Southern Automotive Journal

There is no big secret in building a successful parts business; Miller believes it's a matter of taking the best possible care of the customers. "After all," he said, "it's really just selling cars one piece at a time."

Jeff Miller Parts Manager

Nalley Acura 1355 Cobb Parkway SE Marietta, Georgia 30060 Local Hotline 770.422.3138 Nationwide Toll Free 800.899.7278 Fax: 770.590.4154 Monday - Friday 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM Saturday - 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Sunday - 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM April 2009

Delivery Area: Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Florida

Nalley Dealerships:

Acura- Marietta Audi-Roswell BMW-Decatur Chrysler/Jeep - Roswell Honda - Union City Nissan - Decatur Lexus - Galleria Lexus - Roswell Infiniti - Decatur Infiniti – Marietta Jaguar- Roswell Toyota - Roswell Volvo - Marietta

Nalley Acura Customer Service Team

Tim Holcomb

Roberts Fields Quentin Colburn

out Quentin Colburn and Tim Holcomb. Both Laban Brown work only on the wholesale counter. Both have been with the store for years - Holcomb since the store opened. "They have a very solid following," Miller explained, "and they work well together. They do a great job." Referring to the award Acura presents its top 20 to 30 dealers each year recognizing those that achieve the highest levels of customer satisfaction, Miller said, "This is a 'Precision Team' store. It has been for five or six years. And it's the only one in Georgia. The people who work here are happy to be a part of that. They work hard for it and it's a matter of pride." This excellence in customer service was one of the attractions for Miller in making his decision to join the team at Nalley Acura. Another was that he wanted the experience of working for an import franchise. "It has been a good change, a positive change for me," he said. "It was an opportunity for me to do something different. I was getting a little stale at the Chrysler-Jeep store. I have been very impressed with the product here and Honda/Acura is great to work with." Because Miller joined a team that was already doing an impressive job, he doesn't have a grocery list of things that need improved or accomplished.

Kevin Rogers

year and an annual outTony ing for them and Todd Ray Mathis their families. "It's a way to reward the drivers and help with retention," Miller Looking around he saw that his primary stated. goal would be to just turn things up A critical bit of experience that another notch. "I see my main goal as Miller brings from his Chrysler-Jeep enhancing what these guys were already experience to Nalley Acura is price doing," he explained. "I want to grow the matching on collision parts. This is an business." aspect of the business in which Honda/ Combining the 97 percent Nalley Acura hasn't been very aggressive. That Acura fill rate with the Nalley delivery is changing. He sees this as an opportufleet creates a genuine solution and an nity to increase sales. "Chrysler has been unsurpassable service for the wholesale price matching for a while - two or three parts customer. The Nalley stores pool years," he said. "Honda is now giving us their delivery fleet. Each truck services a some leeway to match costs. I have a lot targeted region. It is quick, cost effective of experience with price matching and and more efficient. And that's critical in a that will help." delivery area that covers Metro Atlanta, Expanded hours for both the serTennessee, Alabama, North Florida and vice and parts departments will be key South Carolina. in increasing sales on the retail side of According to Miller, the advantage the parts business. They are open from of the Nalley delivery fleet is one that 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday through most stand-alone dealerships simply Friday. The weekend hours are 8:00 AM can't match. In his view, it may be the to 5:00 PM on Saturday and noon until most valuable asset in his arsenal. "We 5:00 PM on Sunday. "We work on the are just able to get more parts delivered customers' schedules instead of askin a day," he said. "Single dealerships just ing them to work around ours," Miller can't do as much." stated. At Nalley Automotive Group the There is no big secret in builddelivery drivers have their own coming a successful parts business; Miller pany-sponsored guild within the corpobelieves it's a matter of taking the best ration. It was organized about five years possible care of the customers. "After ago. Through it the company provides all," he said, "it's really just selling cars, drivers with a couple of extra days off per one piece at a time."n April 2009

Southern Automotive Journal


Aveo From Page 19 dent, stable ride. This wide footprint is among the best in class, making the car very surefooted, imparting a sense of confidence and stability among driver and passengers. 2. A 17-mm front stabilizer bar combined with higher rate front springs and more highly damped front shocks minimize the amount of vehicle roll and increase the roll damping to provide more precise control for the driver. The suspension bushings also contribute to the precise handling control. This fully retuned suspension package provides a distinctively European-style performance and feel. 3. Valve tuning in the rack and pinion hydraulic-assist steering system is consistent with the suspension tuning to provide more precise control. Powering the Aveo lineup is an enhanced version of GM’s sophisticated 16-valve DOHC four-cylinder engine. This 1.6L Ecotec engine features variable valve timing for optimal power and fuel efficiency. It is rated at 106 horsepower (79 kW) and 107 lb.-ft. of torque (148 Nm). Technologies such as electronic throttle control and an electrically controlled thermostat to help maximize performance and efficiency across the rpm range. It also features an integrated oil cooler with piston spray nozzles. The engine also features long-life and environmentally friendly features, including a timing belt designed to last 100,000 miles and replaceable cartridgetype oil filter rather than a conventional, Vehicle Dependability From Page 23 long-term quality not only satisfies customers who are holding onto their vehicles longer, but it will also influence their decisions when they return to the new-vehicle market or are seeking to purchase a pre-owned vehicle.” The study finds that the frequency and severity of component replacement has a particularly strong impact on customer loyalty intentions. Component areas for which the impact is greatest include engine and transmission. When engine components 28

Southern Automotive Journal

spin-on metal can filter. A smooth-shifting, five-speed manual transmission is standard on all models and an Aisin four-speed automatic transmission is available. It features a segment-exclusive Hold Control Mode that helps reduce wheel spin and traction loss on slick roads by allowing

the driver to select and hold a higher gear, reducing torque to the wheels. It enables sportier driving operation by allowing the driver to control shift points similar to manual transmission operation. Aveo meets the ULEV II emissions standard, which – along with its outstanding fuel economy – makes it one of the cleanest, most economical vehicles available in North America. Aveo5’s cabin reflects a youthful interpretation of refinement. A “tall car” design and generous dimension offer ample interior space – capable of accommodating passengers more than 6 feet tall in each of the five seating positions. A combination of sound-dampening technologies and aerodynamics

provides a quiet and comfortable ride, even at higher speeds. The interior was designed for maximum comfort and convenience, which is evidenced in elements such as the standard folding driver’s armrest and lower-profile rear-seat headrests. Additional conveniences include clever hooks, located on headrest posts, that can hold items such as backpacks or shopping bags. Theater-style rear seating provides a commanding view for all passengers. The spacious Aveo5 hatchback offers up to 42 cubic feet (1,189 L) of cargo space with the rear seats folded. The Aveo lineup attracts the highest rate of first-time buyers of any GM vehicle, providing a great opportunity to earn these customers’ longterm loyalty. Like the small, premiumcar Cobalt family and the HHR small crossover vehicle, Aveo also generates a high number of conquest sales. The Aveo is making inroads around the world and is sold in more than 120 countries under several nameplates (primarily under the Chevrolet brand). It is the top-selling car produced by GM Daewoo in Korea (GMDAT). Nearly threequarters of the vehicles produced by GMDAT are Chevrolet models. The number is steadily rising as the expertise and quality record of GM’s Korean subsidiary and Chevy’s tradition of “more than expected” value increasingly resonate around the globe. The Aveo is the top-selling Chevy model in Europe and is a great contributor to the brand’s global expansion.n

are replaced or rebuilt, just 11 percent of customers state that they definitely intend to purchase or lease another vehicle of the same make, compared with nearly 40 percent among owners who report replacing no components. The study also finds that Buick, Lincoln, Mercury and Jaguar owners are less likely to replace components than owners of other vehicle brands. While component replacement rates are similar for premium and non-premium makes, there are notable differences between vehicle segments. Owners of models in the premium

sporty vehicle segment are least likely to replace components, while owners of models in the van segment are most likely to replace components. The 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 46,000 original owners of 2006 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded in October 2008. Find more detailed findings on vehicle dependability as well as model photos and specs by reading an article and reviewing brand and segment dependability ratings at n

April 2009

Audatex Helps Ensure Collision Repair Estimate Accuracy With New Online Data Delivery Service, AudaUpdate(TM) Audatex North America, Inc., a leading provider of software and services for the automotive claims processing industry, today introduced AudaUpdate(TM), an automated online data delivery service that will help insurers and collision repairers save time and ensure the accuracy of collision repair estimates. Users of Audatex’s estimating solution, Audatex Estimating(TM), can leverage AudaUpdate to receive the latest data on vehicle part prices and labor times up to two weeks faster than with traditional DVD-based methods. With the most upto-date data, Audatex Estimating users will improve the accuracy of their initial

estimates and reduce the frequency of supplements written. AudaUpdate can be scheduled to automatically update users’ systems with the latest data, eliminating the need to use DVDs to manually update all of the computers or servers on which they store vehicle part price and labor data. Sue Harner, an estimator at Bob Steele Chevrolet in Cocoa, Florida, said, “I’m very pleased with the ease of use of the automatic updates. Automatic updates allow the system to stay current with little to no effort on our part. The automatic updates keep the system current all month, not just every 45 days or

April 2009

so when we would normally do a DVD update...I no longer have to come in early, stay late or disturb the estimators during the normal working day by asking them to get out of the system so I can do the update. I’m very pleased and highly recommend it to everyone.” “We’re constantly looking for ways to help Audatex users streamline their processes and provide outstanding service to their customers,” said John Kotsopoulos, managing director of Audatex for North America. “AudaUpdate does just that by eliminating the need for DVD-based data updates and helping ensure the accuracy of estimates.”n

Southern Automotive Journal


Global Imports Named One of BMW's North America Best Dealerships in the U.S. take care of their customers and represent the BMW brand,” said Peter Miles,

Global Imports in Atlanta has been named one of BMW's of North America top performing dealerships in the US. The 31 BMW dealers out of 338 nationwide awarded the “2009 Center of Excellence Award” were selected based on the criteria of customer satisfaction, brand representation, and operational excellence. Over the last 10 years, the BMW dealer network has invested over $2.1 billion dollars improving its sales facilities and repair workshops, refining processes and focusing on top-tier customer service, making it one of the most successful franchises in the US. “While all BMW dealerships offer a premium experience to our customers, the 31 Centers that have won this year’s award excelled in the way they

“2009 Center of Excellence Award” focuses on customer satisfaction, brand representation, and operational excellence Executive Vice President Operations, BMW of North America.

Recent independent studies confirm BMW’s superior customer service performance. J.D. Power and Associates’ Customer Service Index (CSI) Study ranked the BMW dealer network among the top three automotive brand franchises in the US for its superior customer satisfaction and dealer service. And BusinessWeek identified BMW as one of the top 25 “Customer Service Champs” among all companies in the US. “Anyone who is in the market with money to spend should expect to receive an exceptional customer experience,” said Alan Harris, Vice President Aftersales, BMW of North America. “BMW’s efforts to provide exceptional customer service have become a crucial part of our continued success even in today’s challenging economic climate.”n

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