Three weeks into the rollout of Sonic Automotive Inc.'s customer experience initiative, customers at the pilot store for the launch, Town and Country Toyota in Charlotte, N.C., aren't yet getting the promised iPad-enabled transaction with a single salesperson.
But new desking software for drafting deals and calculating customer payments, as well as centralized new-car pricing and ordering -- also part of the $250 million-plus One Sonic-One Experience -- already are leading to higher market share and speedier transaction times, Sonic's operations chief says.
The launch store's share of new Toyota vehicles in the market jumped 2.4 percentage points since July 1, Jeff Dyke, Sonic's executive vice president of operations, said. Gross profits per new vehicle are down about $200 in the same period, but Dyke attributed that to the store's less-than-optimal inventory when the initiative started. Centralized ordering is improving vehicle selection, and store managers are starting to see some per-vehicle profit improvement, he said.