Sonic Automotive moves ahead with used-vehicle stores as competitors halt growth plans

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Sonic President Jeff Dyke told Automotive News in late April that the retailer would open two more EchoPark stores yet this year but that the planned 2020 opening for an EchoPark location in Atlanta is now pushed to first quarter of 2021.

“It’s a much bigger project,” Dyke said. “We’ve got two other locations that are going into facilities that we already own.”

Dyke didn’t identify those locations but this month told CBT Automotive Network that one of the EchoPark store openings would happen this summer in Nashville.

Sonic executives aim to expand EchoPark to 25 or more locations through 2024. Other EchoPark target markets include Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Fla.; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Phoenix; and Washington, D.C.

Sonic executives have said the retailer can open an EchoPark location for much less than a new franchised store and that the financial effects of the coronavirus may provide new options.

“There’s going to be new opportunities, great opportunities to grow EchoPark, where we’ll be able to grow it at a much less expensive way, whether it’s lower construction costs or opportunities for different real estate locations that weren’t out there before,” CEO David Smith said in an April 30 phone interview. “So we’re excited about that.”

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