We were just tickled to join the mess (about 80) of KIA employees, Cherokee residents, Woodstock officials, media representatives and friends and family that gathered Monday to celebrate the groundbreaking of Carriage KIA.

After almost 20 years of working in the automotive field, owner of Carriage Kia David Basha began his career as a dealer in 1994 when he purchased the Nissan dealership in Gainesville from his partners, according to a release. Mitsubishi and Kia franchises were added in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

Basha and Carriage Kia are now in the construction phase of the dealer’s second Georgia location, just off Interstate 575 at Exit 9 in Woodstock.

Basha thanked his family and Kia team members at the groundbreaking for always sticking by him as they transition into a second location.

“Here we are celebrating amongst friends for this joyous occasion with the groundbreaking of the Kia dealership of Woodstock. But my success did not stand alone,” he said. “I would like to thank with a warm heart all of you who have helped me get through my career and journey as a fi rst-generation car dealer. Without your guidance and support and creativity, expertise, enthusiasm, optimism collaboration and dedication, this endeavor would not have happened.”

Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques congratulated Carriage Kia on coming to his city and choosing what they believe is a great place for business.

“It’s going to do great for the tax base,” he said. “It brings a lot of good paying jobs to the city of Woodstock, so we are really interested in doing those types of things. Again, congratulations and we appreciate being invited here today.”

Executive Vice President of the Southeast Region for Kia North America Percy Vaughn said his team is deeply grateful for their sales success that Kia has experienced for the last 21 years.

“David, we did it,” he said. “Kia has several sales records this year and outsold 17 European brands and many other Asian and domestic brands last year. We will make sure our sales will continually increase over the coming years.”

Carriage Auto Group and the dealers that comprise it have been awarded numerous awards throughout the years, including the highest rated dealerships on, Five Star Dealer Award from, awards of excellence from all manufacturer partners including multiple President’s Club awards from Kia Motors of America and special recognition for hitting sales performance objectives.

Basha was the first client of BG AD Group president and CEO Darien Southerland.

“Let me tell you guys this,” Southerland said. “When I first decided to go into business, I sat down with David in his house one Sunday afternoon and David said to me, ‘what do you need to do this?’ We sat down and went over it and David said, ‘I’ll be your fi rst client.’”

The two have been working together in that fashion for four years and Southerland said he has been fortunate to represent Basha for about eight or nine years.

“We’ve seen a dealership in Gainesville, Georgia, grow from 37 to 40 cars a month, to now 100 to 120 cars a month. I get the opportunity a lot of times to work with different people,” he said. “There’s not an automotive professional in this town or anywhere in the country that works as hard as this man does right here.Thank you for letting me be a part of the Carriage family.”

Basha’s two children took the podium, expressing their gratitude and excitement to start a new chapter in Woodstock.

“When we started the process to find the perfect location for the expansion of our business, it was not without its obstacles,” said Carolina Basha. “It has taken us close to four years to bring us where we stand today and we could not be more pleased with the outcome.The community, people and business environment here in Woodstock are second to none. Even as one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, we feel the values represented by the people and community here are definitely in line with our own.”

Chris Basha said the company will not only help the community of Woodstock with future business, but give back to the community as well. “In addition to bringing a breath of new career opportunities to this community, we will strengthen our ties by working with local nonprofit organizations, hosting family friendly events, seeking out local sponsorship opportunities and supporting local business,” he said. David Basha ended the groundbreaking ceremony with words of encouragement and a promise to the Woodstock community.

“I give you my word that Carriage Kia will provide exceptional experience for each and every one of our customers, providing them with exemplary service,” he said. “I am honored and humbled with this opportunity. You can count on Carriage to always treat the city of Woodstock and its citizens with the utmost respect. We will be another outstanding member of the community.”