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Leading Chevy dealership closes
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Bill Heard Enterprises Inc., one of the leading sellers of Chevrolet vehicles in the country, has closed its 13 remaining dealerships, including one in Buford.

The Columbus-based company announced the closures, which will affect about 2,700 employees, in a statement released Wednesday through Atlanta public relations professional Alan Ulman. GMAC Financial Services last month discontinued credit for new inventory for some of the company’s dealerships, which then stood at 14.

The dealership in Scottsdale, Ariz., closed on Sept. 12.

The Buford dealership was located at 4490 S. Lee St. Calls to the dealership on Wednesday were not answered.

The company did not have the resources to continue operating in the current business environment, the report stated.

It cited factors including rising fuel prices, an inventory dominated by trucks and SUVs, the economic downturn, unfavorable market conditions and the current banking and financial crisis.

"The company had worked to develop and implement a strategy and a course of action that would enable it to operate successfully. However, the conditions necessary to sustain the business through the current challenges were not present," the report stated.

Ulman said by telephone Wednesday that he could provide no further details on the company’s decision or what would happen to the dealerships and their inventory.

He also said no one at Bill Heard would be made available for comment.

The company had five dealerships in Georgia and eight in five other states — Alabama, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas.

Late last month, the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs said in a court filing in Georgia’s Fulton County that the company has participated in deceptive and misleading business practices. The company denied those allegations.

Bill Heard filed a lawsuit against the Office of Consumer Affairs in May 2007 under the Georgia Open Records Act to obtain the names of people and dealerships who had filed complaints against the company.

The state filed a countersuit in July 2007 saying the company had used misleading advertising that looked like a vehicle recall notice. The state said that advertisement violated the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act of 1975.

The Office of Consumer Affairs case is not related to the company’s financial problems.

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