Bill Heard Chevrolet of Sanford, Fla., closed its doors at the end of business Wednesday, part of a shutdown of all 13 of the Georgia-based Bill Heard Enterprises dealerships nationwide.
Whether the store will reopen under new management, or by Chevrolet itself, remains to be seen.
According to a statement from Bill Heard Enterprises about 2,700 employees will be affected by the closings. Bill Heard Enterprises, based in Columbus, Ga., ranks No. 13 on Automotive News' list of the top 125 U.S. dealership groups, with 2007 group revenue of $2.13 billion. It is the world's top-selling Chevrolet dealership. Heard, now 74, was quoted earlier this year as saying he planned to sell several of his dealerships.
The company blamed "rising fuel prices, a product portfolio of mostly heavy trucks and sport utility vehicles, economic recession, unfavorable local market conditions for vehicle sales, the crisis in the banking and financing sectors, and other factors all combined to create a business environment in which the company simply did not have the resources needed to continue to operate.’’