Greenville native knows Hyundaifirst-hand

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 24, 2002

The fact that Hyundai Motor Company has chosen south central Alabama as the location of its new site is one that Greenville native Allen Turner finds quite ironic. A 1981 graduate of Greenville Academy, Turner left his hometown and moved to Pensacola, Fla. in 1985, and in 1989, he became a partner in Eddie Mercer Automotive.

In 1998, he and his partner decided to open a Hyundai franchise on their lot. "My father always has been in the automobile business, and he taught me the car business," Turner said.

He added that the location of Hyundai's new site is one that will definitely help out his hometown. "I was excited that it was so close to Greenville because I feel like the economy here needs the business. It is probably the one single largest boost that this economy will ever receive," he commented.

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"We had been hearing from my dealer about the company opening a new site for a long time

since it was still between four states. Hyundai has a design center in California and they tend to design products that are going to be sold here in the United States. It makes for a better business relationship and one that is give and take when you are spending money here and selling your product," Turner said.

"The company offers a 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty that has been unsurpassed in the market, and that gives the product so much stability and lets the cars stand on their own," he said.

Turner said that there are no stereotypical customers that purchase Hyundai cars because it is such a common sense car. "Hyundai is the best buy in the market place. We typically have parents come in and they want to buy a car for their child. They might be 16 years old or going off to college, and they can buy a new car made by Hyundai for the same price as a used car that is four or five years old, and take advantage of the warranty. Customers also can get a five-year roadside assistance warranty which is great, especially if their child is going off to college," he explained.

Turner said that since taking on the franchise, the company has come a long way and has consistently improved its image over the years. "At one time, the company realized they had an image problem, and that is part of the reason why they created the warranty offer. I think they have surpassed a lot of their image problems.

"The Korean people are a very prideful and determined people. They will not let something kick them and they were determined they were going to turn it all around, which they have done," Turner explained. "Hyundai is a great company in that they keep a very good relationship between the dealers and factory. Hyundai listens and they want input. Even the president of Hyundai Motor Company of America is very accessible."

Just this month, Turner became the full owner of Eddie Mercer Automotive and last year Hyundai sold 372,00 in the United States, making them the fourth ranked company in the nation.

Turner and his wife, Kim, have two children, Allie, 5, and Natalie, 3. He is the son of Harold and Jerre Turner of Greenville.