After a couple of summertime rough spots, September is shaping up to be a strong month across the board for Sonic Automotive’s used-car operations, both within its franchised dealerships and its EchoPark Automotive standalone pre-owned stores.
In an updated outlook released Tuesday, Sonic said same-store used sales for its franchised dealers so far in September are up 6% year-over-year. This follows a 5% decline in July and a 9% drop in August.
Within its EchoPark stores, same-store used-car sales were up 13% in the first half of September. In July, they climbed 3%, which was followed by 10% decline in August.
Meantime, looking at all EchoPark locations, used sales are up 36% year-over-year so far this month. That follows a 19% hike in July and a 4% gain in August.
Offering some context specific to EchoPark, Jeff Dyke, who is president of both Sonic and EchoPark, said in a news release: “Our first EchoPark delivery and buy center in Greenville, South Carolina opened in late July, exceeding early revenue and profit expectations for our e-commerce model.
“We are excited to leverage the efficiency of the EchoPark model and bring our low pricing and best-in-class guest experience to new markets across the country as we open additional EchoPark points in Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas in the next few months,” Dyke said.
In addition to sharing overall commentary on the group’s performance beyond used cars, Sonic and EchoPark chief executive officer David Smith discussed some of the recent developments at EchoPark, as well.
“We are very pleased with our operating performance in the third quarter to date, continuing our recovery from the challenges our industry faced earlier this year,” Smith said. “Consumer demand for new and used vehicles and parts and service repair work has continued to improve steadily in recent weeks, particularly when factoring in the timing of this year’s Labor Day weekend sales compared to the prior year.
“Additionally, our commitment to increasing operating efficiency at both our franchised and EchoPark stores continues to drive enhanced profitability,” he said. “With the recent opening of our newest EchoPark point in Houston, we continue to execute on our strategy of building an omni-channel nationwide distribution network consisting of our EchoPark retail hubs, delivery and buy centers and online at EchoPark.com to offer our guests a first-class car-buying experience.”
Looking forward, Sonic shared slides on expectations for the rest of the year, with the disclaimer that “Due To Uncertainty Related To The COVID-19 Pandemic And The Resulting Economic Impact, Actual Results May Differ Materially From Management’s Forecast.”
Starting with franchised dealer used-vehicle sales, a chart shows those slowing from current levels through November, before rising in December. EchoPark used sales appear to be headed on a rise from current levels through December.