Bill Heard Chain Collapses; All 13 Stores to Close
Man, this news cycle is insane. Another Automotive News [sub] alert, this time telling us that the infamous Bill Heard dealership chain is toast. All 13 stores are about to close their doors. “The company notified the stores’ general managers at 2 p.m. today, the source said, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak.” The source offered a predictable litany of factors (aside from the fact that Bill Heard is one of the most reviled automotive chains in American history). “High fuel prices, cancelled floorplanning from GMAC Financial Services, a reliance on trucks and SUVs, a soft national economy and struggles in local markets had troubled the company, which on Sept. 12 closed its store in Scottsdale, Ariz.” The story behind the story will take some unearthing, but the damage to GM caused by the loss of “Mr. Volume” is calculable. “Bill Heard Enterprises, of Columbus, Ga., ranks No. 13 on the Automotive News list of the top 125 U.S. dealership groups, with 2007 group revenue of $2.13 billion.”
Link to the Columbus, Georgia newspaper story: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/story/450130.html
The last time I stepped foot in a BH dealership was late in 01 when we were shopping for our (last) GM car. Dealership in Sugarland, TX. All of 12 minutes (yes I timed it as I walked out) with the 12 yr old salesdweedle told me all I needed to know. Evidently not much has changed at the BH circus since then.
I heard the word on the curb is that the Courtsey Francise in Florida shut their doors today too. It doesn't hurt my feelings that BH shut down. After numerous fines you think that they would have learned their lesson. It is dealers like that that give the rest of us a bad name.
It was surreal driving past there this morning with the big yellow gate across the entrance.