Customer Experience Featured Article

Sonic is Optimistic and 'Delighted' with New Retail Plan

July 31, 2014

Sonic Automotive says its new retail plan and customer experience initiative is running well, less than a month after it was initiated.

Sonic launched the One Sonic-One Experience earlier this month in a bid to draw more customers into its stores. It launched the program in a pilot store in Charlotte, N.C., where an iPad-equipped sales representative will complete a sale at one price within 45 minutes. But customers at the store in Charlotte are now complaining that they have not received the iPad-enabled shopping experience, as promised.

Nevertheless, Jeff Dyke, executive vice president of operations, says that he’s “delighted” with the roll out so far.

“The feedback from the customers was just amazing,” says Dyke, who worked on the sales team for one day. “We literally pencilled a deal – and it was a cash buyer – but we pencilled a deal with products in less than a minute.”

He went on to say that this is a “soft launch” with further plans coming in August and September.

The initiative is all part of Sonic’s plans to rejuvenate business. “What we're doing in preparing for the future is preservation,” said Sonic’s president Scott Smith, “because the dealers who don't change will go away. Consumers aren't going to shop the way they used to shop.”

Earlier this month, Sonic posted its latest earnings and revealed that pre-owned sales drove the company to a strong second quarter.

“We had a fantastic quarter, achieving another significant milestone,” said Jeff Dyke. “In the month of May, we retailed 100 pre-owned vehicles per store per month. This was a goal we set for ourselves over three years ago and we know we can continue to build on this accomplishment.”

Edited by Alisen Downey

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