Sonic Automotive Inc. generated record first-quarter revenue, boosted by record sales and revenue from its used-only EchoPark brand, an all-time record for F&I gross profit per vehicle, strong gross profits on new vehicles and lower costs.
Revenue for the nation's seventh-largest new-vehicle retailer rose 21 percent to $2.8 billion.
Net income soared to $54.2 million, compared with a loss of $199.3 million a year earlier. In first-quarter 2020, Sonic wrote down the value of its franchised dealership business by $268 million, citing a decrease in its stock market value and expected near-term business reduction amid the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Fiscal 2020 was a record-setting year from an adjusted earnings perspective, and this momentum has continued into 2021, where we generated record first-quarter revenues and earnings driven by strong performance in both our franchised dealerships and EchoPark segments," Sonic CEO David Smith said in a statement on Thursday.
Sonic's EchoPark stores generated all-time-high quarterly revenue of $507.1 million, soaring 53 percent. Used-vehicle sales at EchoPark jumped 41 percent to an all-time quarterly record 19,670 deliveries.
The unit's pretax income slipped 4.1 percent to $2 million.
In April, Sonic opened an EchoPark store in Birmingham, Ala., and a delivery and buying center in North Charleston, S.C., giving the company 23 locations overall. Sonic wants to grow EchoPark to 140 locations nationwide by 2025.
Shares of Sonic closed little changed at $51.07 on Thursday.
Records: First-quarter revenue; first-quarter net income from continuing operations of $53.7 million; all-time F&I gross profit per vehicle of $2,045; all-time quarterly EchoPark sales and several others.
Sales: New-vehicle sales rose 12 percent to 24,358. Used-vehicle sales at its franchised dealerships increased 4.6 percent to 27,236. Used-vehicle sales at its EchoPark stores jumped 41 percent to 19,670.
Same-store sales: New-vehicle sales on a same-store basis rose 14 percent to 24,358. That was better than the 12 percent increase for all U.S. new light-vehicle sales in the first quarter, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center. Used-vehicle sales at its franchised stores and on a same-store basis jumped 6.2 percent to 27,236. Same-store used-vehicle sales at EchoPark stores increased 8.2 percent to 15,128.
Sonic, of Charlotte, N.C., ranks No. 7 on Automotive News' list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 93,281 new vehicles in 2020. It retailed 159,025 used vehicles for the same period, ranking it No. 6 on Automotive News' list of the top 100 used-vehicle retailers.