Rick Hendrick Chevrolet expands to Buford

BUFORD - The former Bill Heard Chevrolet dealership located at 4490 S. Lee St. is now part of Rick Hendrick Chevrolet, which currently operates a dealership in Duluth. The new Buford facility opened May 4 and joins 58 other Hendrick dealerships that represent 24 automobile nameplates.

Hendrick's spokesman from Duluth, Ryan Regnier, said the company was excited about the expansion because it will allow it to offer a better selection of new and pre-owned vehicles to its customers.

"By operating two stores there are substantial savings we can pass along to our customers resulting in a more favorable customer experience for the residents in the greater Atlanta market," Regnier said. "This move should send a clear signal that even with the uncertainty in today's U.S. automotive arena, we remain confident in the Atlanta market and steadfast that Chevrolet is here to stay."

The Hendrick Automotive Group owns 82 new vehicle franchises and businesses in 11 states. The two Gwinnett locations together will employ 244 people, Regnier said.

New appliance and electronic store opens in Snellville

SNELLVILLE - Indianapolis-based hhgregg will celebrate the opening of its 111th store today at 2059 Scenic Highway N. in the Snellville Pavilion. To mark the occasion for the 34,000-square-foot store, it will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at

2:30 p.m. followed by the store's official grand opening at 3. There will also be grand opening promotions taking place all weekend.

"We are very committed to expanding in Georgia and the Atlanta area. In Snellville, especially with the closing of another consumer electronics retailer, we believe that consumers will benefit from a new hhgregg," said hhgregg's vice president of marketing Jeff Pearson.

To compensate for the loss of Circuit City, the store will also be providing previous Circuit City customers with a $50 hhgregg store credit when they hand in Circuit City gift cards of any value or Circuit City credit cards.

EU Parliament rejects Web law

STRASBOURG, France - Worried about trampling on the rights of innocent consumers, the European Parliament rejected Wednesday attempts by EU governments to crack down on people who illegally download copyright-protected music and movies over the Internet.

The EU assembly voted 407 to 57 to reject a compromise reached with EU governments a few weeks ago. It would have allowed France to continue its push to cut off Internet access to those caught downloading illegal copies of songs and movies.

Viviane Reding, the EU's telecoms commissioner appeared to back the rejection, saying the parliament's move was 'an important restatement of the fundamental rights of EU citizens.'

FDIC calls for corporate oversight

WASHINGTON - The head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said new powers are needed to oversee companies that pose financial risks to the economy, an authority that could be shared by the FDIC and other regulators.

Policymakers want to replace the 'too big to fail' model used by the government as it rushed in to rescue huge financial institutions last fall.

'Our current system has clearly failed in many instances to manage risk properly and to provide stability,' FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair told the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday. 'We're talking about a resolution and not a bailout.'

Cell phone only homes on the rise

WASHINGTON - In a high-tech shift accelerated by the recession, the number of U.S. households opting for only cell phones has for the first time surpassed those that just have traditional landlines.

Twenty percent of households had only cells during the last half of 2008, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released Wednesday. That was an increase of nearly 3 percentage points over the first half of the year, the largest six-month increase since the government started gathering such data in 2003.