Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007, 07:00 PM UPDATED 11:59 AMBy Nick Zulovich
PHOENIX — DriveTime recently announced it is moving its loan services and operations center from Gilbert, Ariz., to a larger facility in Mesa, Ariz. The company also said it plans to hire 100 employees for the new center in the next several months, and add 300 more over the next three years.
DriveTime said it spent $15.8 million on the new, 125,557-square-foot building at 7300 E. Hampton Avenue. According to executives, 280 employees currently work at the Gilbert site and will move to the new facility in March 2007.
"DriveTime expects to open 15 dealerships per year for the next three years, and we need to expand the service center to accommodate that growth," explained Jon Ehlinger, a spokespersonman for the company.
"A bigger space means we have the capacity to add more people," he continued. "We're looking forward to more than doubling our workforce and contributing to the growing economy in Mesa."
The expected store openings in 2007 will be in new regions such as Greensboro, N.C., and Denver, executives reported. The company said it currently employees more than 2,700 professionals in 98 dealerships throughout nine states.
"We're stepping up our growth going into 2007," Ehlinger explained. "We're looking forward to expanding into new markets and bringing our brand to new customers. Our goal is to hire people that fit our culture and are looking for a real career opportunity with a rapidly growing company creating a unique market niche."
The areas of business DriveTime is looking for new hires in includes retail, sales, loan servicing, training, executive management and administrative. The new hires will be based at the company's Phoenix headquarters and throughout its various regional stores. DriveTime invites industry professionals to visit and fill out an application.
In order to help its customers, DriveTime said it reports on-time loan payments to the credit bureaus to help bolster credit scores.
Spike in Sales Helps DriveTime's Annual Fundraiser
Late last year, DriveTime announced that its third aAnnual October SchoolDrive Sales Promotion raised a record $525,000, almost a 10-percent increase over the previous year.
The money, which included $100 from each car sold during the month of October, will benefit DriveTime's community outreach program, SchoolTime.
In 2003, DriveTime said it created SchoolTime as a way to encourage employee volunteerism and help disadvantaged schools across the country. The program focuses on schools with special challenges, such as a large percentage of homeless children, a large percentage of families at or below the poverty level, a percentage of families where English is not spoken in the home, in addition to schools with children who have little or no parental involvement and failing test scores.
Executives said SchoolTime began with two pilot schools in Phoenix. Three years later, the program has grown to include 20 elementary schools in nine states, reaching more than 14,000 students.
"Our goal with the sales promotion is to create more opportunities for our employees and our schools," said Ehlinger.
"We more than exceeded our expectations, selling more cars and pulling in an additional $51,000 for schools across the country," he highlighted.
In previous years, executives said the funds were used to buy everything from backpacks and winter jackets to funding field trips, paying for holiday lunches and beautification projects.
In total, the sales promotion has generated more than $1 million for SchoolTime schools, the company concluded.