usedcar

EchoPark Used-Car Dealerships Gain Momentum In Q1 For Sonic Automotive

A more ambitious expansion of EchoPark dealerships — a network of used-car-only stores owned by new-car dealership chain Sonic Automotive — is off to a promising start, company executives said.

“We sold almost 20,000 cars,” in the first quarter at EchoPark dealerships, an increase of more than 40% vs. a year ago, said Sonic CEO David Smith, in a phone interview April 29, following up on Sonic’s first-quarter earnings announcement.

The increase is largely because Sonic is adding more EchoPark stores, but Smith said some new EchoPark locations are also reaching operating profits faster than expected. Newly added markets include Phoenix, Birmingham, Ala., and Charleston, S.C.

EchoPark revenues were $507.1 million for the quarter, up 53% vs. a year ago. Pre-tax earnings for EchoPark were $2 million, down 4%.

Sonic, based in Charlotte, N.C., opened its first EchoPark location in late 2014.

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Used-car prices leap on US economic recovery and supply crunch

Used car prices in the U.S. are soaring.

The Manheim U.S. Used Vehicle Value Index, a gauge of pricing trends, soared to a fresh record Tuesday as factors ranging from chip shortages to a rebounding economy conspired to keep pressure on automotive inventories.

The index, which updates mid-month, rose by 6.8% in the first 15 days of April from the final March figure and jumped 52% from the same period a year ago to a level of 191.4.

The index is compiled by market researcher Cox Automotive Inc. The data takes into account all U.S. sales through Cox’s Manheim automotive auctions that fall in to one of 20 different market classes, excluding motorcycles and vehicles like heavy trucks, and is adjusted for seasonality and mileage.

“Demand is perfectly stimulated from improving consumer sentiment, recovering jobs, accumulated pandemic savings, tax refund season, and American Rescue Plan cash payments,” Cox Chief Economist

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How to hunt down a used-car deal from a rental company like Hertz, Enterprise during coronavirus

As Hertz offers to sell thousands of its cars at steep discounts and millions of Americans face financial uncertainty due to coronavirus, now might be a good time to hunt for bargains from rental car companies. 

“There are definitely good deals out there,” said Rick Ricart, president of the pre-owned vehicle dealership Ricart Automotive in Ohio. “Rentals are down, and rental car companies might be getting aggressive to cut their losses.”

But there are also things to look out for. 

Pouncing on a used-car deal just because you see an alluring price could leave you in a financial bind down the line. And with cases of COVID-19 ticking up, buyers should take extra precautions before taking off in a car previously driven by dozens or even hundreds of other people. 

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Here’s how to smartly and safely find a used-car deal from a rental company in the age of COVID-19:

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