Well actually had I modeled the truck myself it wouldn't be an issue
But we received the truck object from an agency and it wasn't broken up (as is usually the case in production). I am personally new to modeling in maya after having used various other 3d graphics apps for years...so the maya mentality is a bit new to me (especially modeling in it)
In an app such as 3ds Max or LW, you can easily separate parts of an object out and still keep them under one master group node...the equivalent of literally one topmost group and a series of poly_surfaces under it. So, my inital question still stands...seeing as how the model came to us in its current state...is there a way of breaking it apart that will ungroup each "broken off" poly surface and reparent it to the topmost group node so everything is clean.