Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Day Transportation News Release

Georgia State Troopers are urging motorists to use extra caution as they drive during the Labor Day weekend.  Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety and Georgia State Patrol Commander, said a number of special events across the state will increase motor vehicle travel during the 78-hour holiday period.
            “Labor Day is traditionally the end of the summer travel season, so traffic is usually heavy during the holiday period,” Colonel Hitchens said.  “This year, the Labor Day weekend is also the season openers for high school and college football teams across the state and that will add traffic to our roads.”
            The Labor Day holiday period begins at 6 p.m., Friday, September 1 and continues until midnight, Labor Day.  The Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Accident Reporting Unit are jointly predicting 2,100 traffic crashes, 990 injuries and 21 traffic deaths during the holiday period.  Last year, there were 1,930 crashes, 931 injuries and 17 deaths reported during a similar 78-hour period.
            Colonel Hitchens said troopers, as well as officers from the Motor Carrier Compliance Division and Capitol Police, will be out in full force during the heaviest travel times of the period in an effort to reduce the number of traffic crashes across the state.  He said the additional officers will increase the visibility of law enforcement on the road. “The Motor Carrier Compliance officers will be concentrating on unsafe tractor trailers during their patrols and will not hesitate to issue an out-of-service order to any commercial vehicle found to be unsafe,” Colonel Hitchens said.  He said troopers will be concentrating on impaired drivers during their patrols throughout the weekend.  “Troopers will not only be on the interstate, but also patrolling the secondary roads as well,” he said.  “Last year, only two of the 17 traffic deaths occurred on the interstates.”
            The Labor Day holiday weekend is also an Operation C.A.R.E. holiday period.  Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort, is a program of the International Association of Chiefs of Police designed to unite the law enforcement community across the United States and Canada in a campaign to reduce traffic deaths through high visibility enforcement and education.  The program is now in its 29th year and this Labor Day will target impaired driving with its “Zero for 24” campaign throughout the Southeast.  State law enforcement agencies in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky are participating in the impaired driving crackdown with a goal of no DUI-related traffic deaths in the Southeast over the 24 hours of Labor Day.
Colonel Hitchens reminds motorists who will be on the roads during the holiday period to plan their trips carefully by allowing ample time to reach their destination, plan for rest stops along the way, obey the posted speed limit, don’t drive if you have consumed alcohol, and make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained.  Please take the time to properly restrain children – no matter whether the trip is across the state or across town.
Source: Georgia Department of Public Safety

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

IntelliChoice: Insight Earns Best Overall Value of the Year Award

While many of today’s latest hybrid cars offer excellent fuel efficiency, fewer offer excellent value. The 2012 Honda Insight, however, delivers both. According to the EPA, the affordably priced Insight can achieve 41 mpg city/44 mpg highway/42 mpg combined. According to the experts at IntelliChoice, it’s also the No. 1 Compact Car in their annual Best Overall Value of the Year Awards. And as you can tell by its name, the honor takes into account much more than fuel efficiency. According to IntelliChoice, the winners are chosen through “careful and practical analysis of seven major ownership cost areas; depreciation, maintenance, repairs, fuel, fees, financing and insurance.”But the Insight does happen to be exceedingly frugal at the fuel pumps. In fact, those EPA grades, along with its low level of emissions, also scored it a place on this year’s “2012 Greenest List” from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). It wasn’t the only product from Honda to receive that recognition, either. Honda topped all other brands with four entries among the 12 award winners, also including:
Honda Civic Natural Gas—The only factory-built, CNG-powered car produced in America, the Civic Natural Gas is now available in more than 35 states and was named 2012 Green Car of the Year by Green Car Journal.
Honda Civic Hybrid—Now able to post EPA marks of 44 mpg city/44 mpg highway/44 mpg combined.
Honda CR-Z—Offering a dynamic driving experience, aggressive styling and EPA ratings of up to 35 mpg city/39 mpg highway/37 mpg combined.
Said Steven Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda: “The ACEEE’s annual recognition of Honda’s fuel-efficient vehicles further validates our commitment to create a cleaner, more energy-efficient and sustainable transportation future.”

CrossTour, Odyssey, Ridgeline Help Strategic Vision Redefine Quality

Relying on a unique methodology to both quantify and qualify owner-reported vehicle quality, Strategic Vision recently presented 2012 Total Quality Awards to three different Honda vehicles, while also reporting the company is “as strong as ever.”Leading the way for the brand was the Honda Ridgeline, which claimed its fifth consecutive title in the Standard Pickup class. Certainly helping matters were the Ridgeline’s unique package of features and capabilities, including a lockable in-bed “trunk,” a comfortable and car-like interior, variable torque-managing all-wheel drive, and the ability to haul up to 5,000 lbs.
The Honda Odyssey followed up the Ridgeline’s performance with its own Total Quality Award in the Minivan category. Also the segment leader for fuel-efficiency, the Odyssey can achieve EPA grades of up to 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway/22 mpg combined.
Finally, the innovative Honda Crosstour was rewarded with the Total Quality prize in the Mid-Size Multi-Function segment. The CrossTour provides owners with a radically fresh solution to their family- and cargo-hauling needs, combining the space and versatility of a traditional crossover with the kind of superior ride and handling most often found in mid-size sedans like the Honda Accord. And note, too, that the Crosstour will get a significant makeover for the 2013 model year, introducing a freshened appearance and, in the V6-powered models, a new six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2012 models of all three Honda Total Quality Award winners are on sale now, with the refreshed 2013 Crosstour due this fall.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Following her father: Marietta’s Valery Voyles is a car dealership industry leader

Valery Voyles is president and CEO of Ed Voyles Automotive Group. Her father, who had been in the used car business since the end of World War II, moved the family from East Point to Marietta to open the original Oldsmobile dealership on Cobb Parkway. His timing was fortuitous: Just after he opened the business, plans for Cumberland Mall were announced, and the area began to grow exponentially.<br>Photo special to the MDJ
Valery Voyles is president and CEO of Ed Voyles Automotive Group. Her father, who had been in the used car business since the end of World War II, moved the family from East Point to Marietta to open the original Oldsmobile dealership on Cobb Parkway. His timing was fortuitous: Just after he opened the business, plans for Cumberland Mall were announced, and the area began to grow exponentially.
Photo special to the MDJ
Cobb Executive Profile

MARIETTA — Valery Voyles, president and CEO of Ed Voyles Automotive Group, works at her father’s desk in her office as a tribute to the late Ed Voyles, who founded the auto dealership in Marietta in 1970.

Her father, who had been in the used car business since the end of World War II, moved the family from East Point to Marietta to open the original Oldsmobile dealership on Cobb Parkway. His timing was fortuitous: Just after he opened the business, plans for Cumberland Mall were announced, and the area began to grow exponentially.

Valery Voyles’ office is located on the second story of the original dealership’s 22-acre campus at 2103 Cobb Parkway, near Windy Hill Road, now home to Ed Voyles Honda. The auto group’s second Cobb location, at 789 Cobb Parkway, carries Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge.

Valery Voyles, who married at the age of 17, did not attend college. After having children, she used her six-foot frame to become a model before joining her father in the family business at the age of 30.

Ed Voyles died in 2004, six weeks after being diagnosed with cancer and just six months after the death of Valery Voyles’ mother, Dora. Valery Voyles was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer at the time.

“I wore a wig to both of their funerals,” she said.

After her father’s death, she sprung into action despite her own battle with cancer.

“I took as much time as I could (to recover), but I also knew there were things that needed to be done,” Voyles said. Assuming the role of president and CEO, she began to make her own mark on the company.

“I felt like I needed to build my own executive team,” she said.

She says she learned many things from her father.

“He was a great mentor,” Voyles said. “He would be the first to call you down on something, but in a gentle way.”

According to Voyles, her father never owned a calculator or a computer and relied on his brain and talkative personality to build the family business.

“He was great with math,” she said.

Within a year of becoming CEO, she purchased Marietta Jeep, then four years later, Marietta Dodge. She built her own management team and in December 2011 branched outside of Cobb, buying a Kia dealership in Chamblee.

Today, with three campuses, the automotive group sells Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram and Acura cars and employs 500 people.

She is not shy about telling the male industry leaders her perspective as a woman.

“It took me a long time to convince Honda that women don’t want sissy cars,” Voyles said. “I tell my managers, ‘The cosmetic mirror in the visor is not the first thing we want to see.’”

Voyles was the first woman to chair the national dealer council for Acura.

The recession forced the company to lay off between 10 and 15 percent of the workforce, but many of those workers have been rehired, Voyles said.

“I was fortunate that my dad was very frugal and was well-capitalized,” Voyles said.

She said that after a flat year in 2007, sales have risen every year since. The automotive group sold 6,000 new and 4,200 used cars in 2011, grossing $365 million. To date in 2012, the company is outpacing last year’s numbers in units and profitability. Based on current numbers, she believes they will sell 8,000 new and 4,800 used cars this year.

“The older I get, the more frugal (like my father) I become,” Voyles said. “I put money back into the business at the end of the year to give us the ability to grow. When I was younger, I had financial problems, and I never want to be in that position again.”

But Alana Shepherd, secretary of the board of trustees for the Shepherd Center Foundation, said Voyles is anything but frugal in her support of the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

“She has been a valued supporter for many years and never fails to attend and support all events,” Shepherd said. “Our third floor gym for ‘Day Program and Beyond Therapy’ was given in honor of her parents, Dora and Ed Voyles. She is very generous with her time as well as resources.”

Voyles said the company’s success can’t be measured based solely on the bottom line.

“I found out it’s not the things that make you happy. It is having a good business and being close to your employees and associates and empowering them to do good things,” Voyles said. “We’ve been around 65 years. … We don’t manage by the quarterly profits, and we want to be around for a long time.”


* Full Name: Valery Voyles

* Title: President & CEO

* Age: 55

* Education/Year Graduated: High school, 1974

* Family: Husband, Rob Jordan; children, Jessica and Chase Singleton, stepchildren Trey, Taylor and Sean Jordan

* First Job: Model

* Best Job: Current job

* Lesson Learned the Hard Way: The economy always swings both ways … be prepared

* Advice to the Next Generation: Get your education