Even though many regulars were either on vacation or on assignment out of town, turnout for the
Southern Automotive Media Association’s monthly luncheon topped 30 once again, an indication that
the organization has become a welcome addition to the South Florida auto scene.
Nissan was the host for the event at Smith & Wollensky’s Restaurant in South Pointe Park on Miami
Beach, and Sean Blankenship, product manager for the Altima and Maxima, was on hand to preview
the beautiful new Altima coupe. Our good friends from Nissan, Vicki Smith and Julie Lawless, also
attended. A model of the Altima coupe was on display outside the
restaurant, and several members took advantage to give it a quick once-over before returning to their work. Blankenship noted that the coupe version of the Altima, which was unveiled in its sedan version last
November, is a “true coupe” design and “is not just a knockoff of the sedan.”
At the same time, it “brings all the nice bells and whistles that the sedan has.” And access to the
backseat is quite manageable. Even our vertically unchallenged president, Ron Beasley, was able to
get in and out the back without straining a muscle.
Ron, by the way, presided over a brief business session before the meeting and reminded members
that the August meeting is tentatively scheduled for “cocktail time” and, instead of a presentation by
a manufacturer, members will be given the opportunity to sound off about what they would like to
see for SAMA in the future.
The date and place of this business meeting have yet to be determined, but it likely will be either on
the third Thursday or third Friday of the month, the usual time for the luncheon.
Beasley also reminded members to remit their dues for the year, which will be good through next
June 30, and to please, please reply to e-mail notices on whether they will be able to attend future
luncheons. We understand conflicts can come up at the last minute, but we need to get as accurate a
count as we can for the luncheons.
SAMA is still scheduled to hold a breakfast for members on the morning of press day at the South
Florida International Auto Show. Teresa Bravo, Tony Lesesne and SAMA Secretary Jaime Florez
have volunteered to serve as a committee to plan the details.
Also in conjunction for the auto show, SAMA Vice President Paul Borden announced that any
member who is available on the afternoon before the show (a Thursday) is welcome to serve as a
judge for two awards that SAMA will present. More details are to come.
We’re looking to recognize a “Star of the Show” and a “Concept Car of the Show” with awards that
will be presented at the SAMA breakfast. Treasurer Bill Adam and Terry Jackson will determine
criteria for the awards.
Among upcoming events, Mercedes-Benz will sponsor the September luncheon, and the South
Florida Automobile Dealers will sponsor the October luncheon. November will feature auto show
activities, and Toyota will be host for our first Christmas party in December!