Sonic Automotive is expanding its chain of used-car dealerships to Charlotte, including a location in the prominent Coliseum Center shopping complex on Independence that is being redeveloped.
Sonic, which has its corporate headquarters in Cotswold, launched its EchoPark used-car chain in 2014 in Denver and operates six dealerships in and around Colorado. In a quarterly earnings report last week, Sonic said it plans to open an additional 15 EchoPark locations in Florida, Georgia, Texas and the Carolinas by the end of 2018.
Jeff Dyke, Sonic’s executive vice president of operations, said that in addition to the Coliseum Center location, EchoPark will open local dealerships in Huntersville and Gastonia.
“It was always the plan to bring (EchoPark) to Charlotte,” Dyke told the Observer Monday. Sonic is able to open multiple locations in a new market because it plans to streamline training and advertising here, he added. “When we come into town, we want to come in with a splash.”
According to building permits filed last month, Sonic’s EchoPark at 3700 East Independence Blvd. will include a pre-owned car sales lot with a showroom, offices and repair facilities. Dyke said Sonic has about 10 acres on the site.
The 18.3-acre, decrepit Coliseum Center site, just past the Eastway Boulevard exit from Independence Boulevard, is being demolished to make way for a new, $35 million development called Coliseum Crossing. In addition to EchoPark, the development will also include 60,000 square feet of retail space, which will be completed in about a year.
Dyke said he anticipates the EchoPark concept will be “well-received” in the Coliseum area. EchoPark lets customers peruse the dealership’s inventory of used cars on mobile devices stationed throughout the store, test-drive vehicles and receive car appraisals without having to haggle with salespeople.
Sonic Automotive is a Fortune 500 company that was founded by Bruton Smith. His son, Scott, took over as CEO in the summer of 2015.