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Sonic Automotive to Invest $200 Million In Growth | DrivingSales News

Sonic Automotive to Invest $200 Million In Growth

January 29, 2015 0 Comments

Sonic Automotive is looking to expand. Reports from several media sources indicate that Sonic wants to acquire new dealerships. The early projections put the amount the organization is looking to spend in the $200 million range. The Charlotte-based dealer group is already listed as one of the top five largest in the United States with over 100 stores. Their desire to expand is understandable.

The next largest group behind them is the Van Tuyl Group, which was recently acquired by Warren Buffett via Berkshire Hathaway. With their close competition receiving a dose of energy and support by way of Warren Buffett, Sonic appears ready to act in order to continue to expand. The question is, will this impact their plan to improve the customer experience?

In 2014, Sonic announced their investment in a new program geared towards not only improving but shortening the consumer experience at their dealerships. Their goal seemed to be a blend of technological advancement and the streamlining of the car buying process. This summer the CFO of Sonic Automotive, Heath Byrd, told CITEWorld, “Purchasing a vehicle can be painful. We wanted to remedy that problem by creating transparency so there’s more trust, and speed the process. It can take 4 hours. Our goal was to get it down to 1 hour.”

Sonic has already rolled out some of the changes that it wants to make to the car buying process. A large Sonic dealership near Denver, Colorado allows consumers to come into the store and work side-by-side the staff using onsite tablets. The goal is for greater transparency and a faster process. The process also involves the entire purchase being handled by one employee. On this subject Byrd said, “To buy a car you used to have to go through five people. We want to do everything with one individual.” Sonic reportedly is trying to use a process that doesn’t rely on training, but can be done by interchangeable employees.

Is this new direction going to work out for Sonic? Do customers want to use tablets in the showroom? Is retail automotive about to undergo a large makeover?

About the Author:

The DrivingSales News team is dedicated to breaking the relevant and the tough stories affecting car dealers. Have questions for DrivingSales News? Reach the team at news@drivingsales.com.

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