Sales at EchoPark's eight stores more than doubled to 11,051 vehicles in the first quarter, and revenue surged 90 percent to $249.6 million. Its total front-end and finance-and-insurance gross profit per vehicle — which includes little to no front-end gross — jumped 25 percent to $2,351 in the quarter.
That all helped EchoPark to post pretax income of $200,000 for the three-month period. EchoPark launched its first store in late 2014. And more stores are coming.
"Our EchoPark brand had an historic quarter demonstrating the huge growth EchoPark will achieve as we add additional markets across United States. We expect 2019 EchoPark revenues to exceed $1 billion," Smith told analysts after Sonic issued its earnings April 25. "We expect EchoPark to retail approximately 50,000 pre-owned vehicles in 2019, which is about five times the volume we were selling just two years ago."
EchoPark's sales in the first quarter represented nearly 29 percent of Sonic's used-vehicle sales. Sonic's total used-vehicle unit sales jumped 14 percent to 38,463.
Revenue for Sonic's franchised segment of 92 stores dropped 5.7 percent to $2.14 billion in the quarter, while gross profit for the franchised dealerships dipped 2.1 percent to $333 million.
EchoPark's store in Grand Prairie, Texas, in March sold about 1,600 vehicles and made more than $2 million, making it the most profitable store in all of Sonic Automotive for the month, Smith and Sonic President Jeff Dyke said on the call with analysts.
And EchoPark, which operates three stores in Colorado, four in Texas and one in North Carolina, has sold vehicles to customers in 121 markets across the U.S., with some shoppers traveling hundreds of miles to buy a vehicle, Sonic said.