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Sonic Automotive Names Industry Veteran as Chief Marketing Officer for EchoPark Automotive

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Dino Bernacchi Appointed as First CMO of EchoPark Automotive as Nationwide Expansion Continues

CHARLOTTE, N.C., October 04, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sonic Automotive, Inc. ("Sonic Automotive" or "Sonic" or the "Company") (NYSE:SAH), a Fortune 500 company and one of the nation’s largest automotive retailers, today announced the appointment of Dino Bernacchi as Chief Marketing Officer of EchoPark Automotive, the Company’s growing nationwide pre-owned vehicle segment, effective October 4, 2021.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211004005256/en/

Dino Bernacchi (Photo: Business Wire)

Bernacchi joins EchoPark Automotive after most recently serving as the Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Cleveland Browns NFL franchise. He has 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, having led marketing and branding teams at General Motors, Harley-Davidson, and Mazda.

"We are excited to bring Dino Bernacchi on board," said David Smith, CEO of Sonic Automotive and EchoPark Automotive. "His vast expertise in brand development and marketing is a natural fit with our goal of making EchoPark a nationwide household name synonymous with providing an exceptional guest experience to consumers who shop online or in-store for quality pre-owned vehicles at great prices."

The appointment of Bernacchi as the first CMO for the pre-owned segment further solidifies Sonic Automotive’s commitment to the long-term success of its EchoPark growth plan. The Company continues to rapidly expand the EchoPark brand’s footprint and expects to reach approximately 25% of the U.S. population by the end of the year. Sonic has also made significant investments to develop its upcoming digital omnichannel platform for consumers, offering EchoPark guests who visit in-store or shop online at EchoPark.com a new way to buy a car.

"This is a big day for EchoPark Automotive," said Jeff Dyke, President of Sonic Automotive and EchoPark Automotive. "Not only does Dino bring extensive experience in developing award-winning brands, but he is also a great fit with our culture. We are thrilled to have him join us to utilize his expertise in our market expansion efforts and to raise consumer awareness of our upcoming digital omnichannel solution."

Bernacchi’s commitment to developing creative, customer-centric marketing and engagement campaigns throughout his career has been recognized nationally and internationally. Marketing campaigns that Bernacchi has been a part of have received two Cannes Gold Lion awards for creativity and global impact of a marketing campaign, three Gold Effie awards for product launches and media strategies, and an Emmy for a 2020 docuseries.

"I’m personally excited to be back in the automotive business and professionally excited to help build a brand whose sole focus is driving automotive ownership dreams with the best guest experience," said Dino Bernacchi, Chief Marketing Officer of EchoPark Automotive. "I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to help propel a business that can offer up the best of both. David, Jeff, and team have built the foundation of a strong brand that we’ll take to the next level."

Following its 2014 launch, EchoPark Automotive has rapidly become one of the pre-owned automotive retail industry’s most prominent success stories. The Company continues to expand its EchoPark footprint into new markets and anticipates 90 percent population coverage by 2025, enabling its interim goal of retailing 575,000 vehicles and generating $14 billion in annual EchoPark revenues by 2025, while driving toward a two million vehicle annual sales opportunity at maturity.

EchoPark Automotive guests can visit on-site or online at EchoPark.com to shop over 10,000 high-quality, one- to four-year-old pre-owned vehicles under original factory warranty, with clean CarFax reports. The easy, transparent online purchase experience includes below-market, no-haggle pricing (including taxes and fees), a firm trade-in vehicle offer, competitive financing solutions, and the ability to choose from a selection of quality vehicle protection plans. After scheduling a pickup appointment at an EchoPark Delivery Center or Retail Sales Center, guests are greeted by an EchoPark Experience Guide to help answer any questions and finalize all vehicle purchase details before quickly getting them on their way home with their new purchase. With over 15,000 five-star reviews to date, the EchoPark experience is clearly resonating with guests.

About Sonic Automotive

Sonic Automotive, Inc., a Fortune 500 company based in Charlotte, North Carolina is on a quest to becoming the most valuable automotive retailer and service brand in North America. Our focus to accomplish this will be by creating, innovating and providing industry-leading guest experiences, driven by strategic investments in technology, teammates and ideas that ultimately fulfill ownership dreams, enrich lives and deliver happiness to every guest with every encounter. As the fifth largest automotive retailer in North America, our 87 franchised dealerships are committed to delivering on this goal while Sonic continues to take aggressive actions to grow and progressive steps to be the leader in this category. Our new platforms, programs and people are set to drive the next generation of automotive experiences. More information about Sonic Automotive can be found at www.sonicautomotive.com and ir.sonicautomotive.com.

About EchoPark Automotive

EchoPark Automotive is the fastest growing and most comprehensive nearly new automotive retail brand in America today. Our aggressive plan is to cover 90% of the U.S. by 2025 to reach 90% of the population with the most unique business model and utilization of one of the most innovative technology-enabled sales strategies. This approach provides a personalized and preferred, guest-centric buying process that has been proven out by consistently delivering award-winning guest-focused experiences and superior value to car buyers nationwide with an average savings up to $3,000 over the competition. EchoPark is set to be the #1 in near-new/pre-owned 1-4-year-old vehicle sales by 2025 and already making its mark by earning the 2021 Consumer Satisfaction Award, creation of new Owner Experience Centers, development of all-new online shopping technology and a focus to grow the brand. EchoPark’s mission is in its name, Every Car deserves a Happy Owner. This drives all they do, differentiates itself from the competition, and has them focused to redefine the category for their guests. More information about EchoPark Automotive can be found at www.echopark.com

Forward-Looking Statements

Included herein are forward-looking statements, including statements regarding anticipated future revenue levels, future pre-owned vehicle sales projections, the opening of additional EchoPark markets, future population coverage and the anticipated launch timing of our digital omnichannel platform. There are many factors that affect management’s views about future events and trends of the Company’s business. These factors involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or trends to differ materially from management’s views, including, without limitation, economic conditions in the markets in which we operate, new and used vehicle industry sales volume, anticipated future growth in our EchoPark Segment, the success of our operational strategies, the rate and timing of overall economic expansion or contraction, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and related government-imposed restrictions on operations, and the risk factors described in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 and other reports and information filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). The Company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking information, except as required under federal securities laws and the rules and regulations of the SEC.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211004005256/en/


Investor Inquiries:
Heath Byrd, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer 704-566-2400
Danny Wieland, Vice President, Investor Relations 704-927-3462

Press Inquiries:
Joshua Greenwald / Danielle DeVoren
646-379-7971 / 212-896-1272
jgreenwald@kcsa.com / ddevoren@kcsa.com