[Originally aired September 14, 2018]
In today’s segment, CBT Automotive’s Jim Fitzpatrick talks with Jeff Dyke, executive vice president of operations for Sonic Automotive to discuss the future of their used car retail chain, EchoPark, and the launch of their new mobile app, CarCash.
Over the past four years, EchoPark has grown from opening its first location in late 2014 to recently opening seven locations across Colorado and Texas. However, Sonic has decided to halt production on three more locations this year and refine its strategy.
Jeff explains, “What we tried to do is to not to over expand you know, at the demise of profitability. We just – at the end of the day we want to have profitable stores, and when we have profitable stores, we’ll start expanding.”
With Sonic and EchoPark finishing August with the strongest reporting so far this year, 40-80 nationwide EchoPark locations is still the goal. Jeff also reminds us that even though three locations are on hold, two more still have the possibility of opening later this year, and one more during Q1 of 2019.
Moving on to discuss new ventures, Jeff goes into detail about Sonic’s new app launch called CarCash. This app will give consumers the opportunity to appraise their own vehicles, in three and a half to five minutes. “If you want to go out in your bedroom slippers and your PJs and appraise your vehicle, you can do that right in the comfort of your home”, Jeff points out.
These valuations will be backed by all of Sonic’s retail trade centers, and honored if the consumer chooses to trade in their car at one of their facilities. With the volume that Sonic and EchoPark move, this is great news for inventory.
The internet is also rapidly changing consumers’ shopping patterns, and digital one-stop shopping will be the key to competing directly with online shopping.
Jeff and Jim close the segment by discussing how creating uniformity across the online car retailing experience, will propel the industry forward.