Sonic Automotive Inc.'s strategy for its EchoPark stand-alone used-vehicle brand is evolving.
After nearly four years of operation, the adjustments come as Sonic has learned what services EchoPark customers want and as the retailer adopts best practices gleaned through its acquisitions of other used-only dealerships. A key change: Sonic has scaled back the number of stores planned for EchoPark.
Instead of the hub-and spoke model, with one big store and several smaller stores serving a market, EchoPark will start with one large store in a market and consider additional locations later, Jeff Dyke, Sonic's executive vice president of operations, told Automotive News.
At "our big stores in Denver and Dallas and in San Antonio, we're selling a ton of cars," Dyke said. "If I can sell more cars out of one location than I can out of two, or the same out of one than I can out of two, then that just reduces complexity, creates simplicity and allows us to make more" money.
In the coming weeks, Sonic also will rebrand two existing stores into EchoPark locations, roll out a vehicle appraisal app and pilot a nearly 100 percent online buying tool at one EchoPark location, complete with appraisal and loan approval capability. Much of the change involves combining EchoPark's technology and culture with the pricing model and inventory management system gained in Sonic's 2017 acquisition of Driversselect, a used-vehicle operation in Dallas, Dyke said.