Sonic forecasts spending $40 million to $50 million on the initiative this year, Dyke said. That includes $18 million for software development and equipment such as iPads. That compares to overall spending of $57 million, including software development and equipment costs of $24 million, in 2012.
Transactions will be paperless and significantly shorter -- as quick as 30 to 45 minutes once a customer decides on a car, Dyke said. Customers will dictate the pace.
"We have to speed it up. It should not take two hours or three hours to buy a car," he said. "If I walk into any other retailer in this world other than [those] selling cars, I can walk in and buy a pair of shoes and leave."
And while buying shoes is far less complicated than buying a car, dealers need to change because tomorrow's customer won't tolerate the delays and will already be comfortable with the technology, Dyke said.
Sonic plans no reduction in head count. Although sales reps will handle the finance and insurance portion of the transaction, finance managers will stay on and work with sales managers to coach and supervise the sales reps.
While some employees are frightened about the change, Dyke doesn't expect many departures.