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Longtime car retailer closes on west side

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A longtime fixture along West Washington Street, near Indianapolis International Airport, has driven off into the sunset.

National Car Sales, for years known for its commercials featuring basketball coach Bobby “Slick” Leonard, closed last week after more than 20 years in the market.

The closure resulted from the sale in August of Indianapolis parent Arelco Inc. to Enterprise Holdings Inc. Enterprise, owned by the Taylor family of St. Louis, operates rental car companies Enterprise, Alamo and National.

Arelco retained, at least for now, Execucar Leasing, along with National Remarketing, a wholesaler of rental cars.

Enterprise acquired Arelco’s 4,300 vehicles, 31 Alamo and National rental locations in nine states, and Arelco’s headquarters and car sales and service division at 7111 W. Washington St.

 Arelco had about 400 employees. An Enterprise spokeswoman did not respond to questions about how many Arelco employees were rehired.

Initially, Enterprise said it would operate Arelco divisions “in substantially the same form” after the sale. However, last month it announced it would close National Car Sales, which is one block east of the still-shuttered former ATA Airlines headquarters.

Arelco’s former head of rental operations, Kim Smith, was retained by Enterprise Holdings to oversee Enterprise, Alamo and National brands at Indianapolis International.

Enterprise Holdings did not respond to questions about its plans for the Washington Street property.  It formerly operated an Enterprise Car Sales store just down the street from National Car Sales. Enterprise Car Sales has a remaining Indianapolis store on Pendleton Pike, near Interstate 465.

Enterprise Holdings has snapped up 25 other rental car franchises around the country since buying Alamo and National brands in 2007.

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