Heller Ford of El Paso has purchased a stake in Sud's Motor
Car Co. and plans an expansion that will divide its six automobile brands into
Neil Heller of Heller Ford became general manager and chief operating officer of the new dealerships on Friday. He declined to disclose what percentage of Sud's was purchased from owner Gian Sud, saying only that it was "substantial," with the option to purchase the rest over time.
Heller will have operational control while Sud will remain on the board of directors of the company at 1430 Fort Jesse Road. The dealership expansion will separate it into Audi, Lincoln, Mercedes, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo dealerships.
The dealerships will be renamed to reflect their brands and will continue to share the existing service department.
"This is something we've been excited about doing for two years now," said Heller, who has been a dealer at Heller Ford since 2005. "We've always wanted to be in the community of Bloomington-Normal."
The 10,000- to 12,000-square-foot expansion will increase showroom space and add 15 to 20 staff, Heller said. While some employees at the dealership are slated to retire, the majority will remain during the expansion.
Heller had no estimate on when the expansion will be complete, but renovations could begin within the next six months pending manufacturers' approval.
Sud, who turns 80 in November, expressed his gratitude to the local community and said he's ready to take a less active day-to-day role in the company he founded in 1986. With his increased free time, he said he plans to be more involved in real estate.
"I'm getting of an age where six days a week is a little too much," Sud said. "Today's consumer wants to buy a car in 30 minutes. I can't move that fast anymore."
(c)2013 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.)
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