Record used-vehicle sales drive up Sonic Automotive’s revenues

Charlotte-based Sonic Automotive Inc. reported a strong second quarter, as revenue from preowned vehicles rose 12 percent from the same quarter of last year.

The auto retailer, one of the nation’s largest, reported net income of $27 million, up from last year’s $8.9 million profit. Results for the second quarter of last year included a pretax charge of roughly $29 million that stemmed from the retirement of debt.

Total revenue hit $2.4 billion in the six months ending June 30, a 4 percent increase from last year.

That was driven in part by used-vehicle revenue, which rose 12 percent from the second quarter of 2013, a company record for preowned vehicle sales. The Fortune 500 company sold 28,514 used cars in the second quarter.

New-vehicle sales saw a more modest 7 percent year-over-year increase.

“We had a fantastic quarter, achieving another significant milestone,” said Jeff Dyke, Sonic’s executive vice president of operations. “In the month of May, we retailed 100 preowned vehicles per store per month.”

The company realized another record, as gross profit in the second quarter climbed to $346.9 million, up $23.1 million from the same quarter of last year, a 7 percent increase.

Sonic President B. Scott Smith said he anticipates the implementation of the company’s new One Sonic-One Experience initiative, which aims to streamline the car-purchase process to one hour, will help the company grow.

The company plans to start the program in Charlotte in the third quarter of this year before expanding to other markets.