Sonic tweaks rollout of no-haggle selling

on May13

“We’ll do it brand by brand,” says Sonic’s Jeff Dyke of the change.

Sonic Automotive Inc. is switching plans for the rollout of its One Sonic-One Experience program to its 112 dealerships.

Sonic, of Charlotte, N.C., introduced One Sonic-One Experience at five dealerships in Charlotte in 2014. It offers no-haggle pricing with the goal of completing a purchase in 45 minutes or less using one sales rep armed with an iPad.

Sonic has since rolled out the sales approach to stores in Birmingham, Ala.; Chattanooga; and Los Angeles.

In the first quarter, Sonic put it in the first luxury-brand store, Century BMW in Greenville, S.C.

“We’re working through many of the same idiosyncrasies we had in our stores in Charlotte,” Jeff Dyke, Sonic’s executive vice president of operations, told Automotive News.

But as Sonic perfects the process at Century BMW, Dyke said, Sonic leaders in “a few months” will choose a brand to carry the One Sonic-One Experience flag forward.

“So instead of doing it region by region, we’ll do it brand by brand,” putting the sales approach in all stores selling that brand, then moving on to another brand, said Dyke. “We found it’s easier to do it that way than by region.”

It is too soon to say if the chosen brand will be luxury or not, said Dyke.

Integrated as part of One Sonic-One Experience technology is Sonic’s online sales initiative, called Sonic Digital One-Stop, which Sonic planned to launch this year. It will allow consumers to shop for a vehicle, get a trade appraisal and complete the purchase online without setting foot in a store. A Sonic employee will deliver the car to the consumer, possibly as soon as the same day.

Sonic ranks No. 5 on Automotive News’ list of the 150 largest dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 134,288 new vehicles in 2016.

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