September 28, 2009 (Burlington, VT) – Sonic Automotive, Inc. (NYSE: SAH), the nation’s third-largest automotive retailer, today announced the launch of a customized mobile initiative that expands website reach for all 154 Sonic dealerships. Anticipating consumer needs, the group’s websites now automatically format dealership website content for the specific mobile devices shoppers use to view dealership information. Automotive shoppers on-the-go now have expanded access to auto dealership information, including inventory and high definition vehicle videos, specially optimized for their particular hand-held devices. Working in partnership with Dealer.com, the global leader of online marketing solutions for the automotive industry, the unique new mobile website initiative launched on September 1.
Historically, consumers have had limited access to dealership website information on hand-helds because sites were not optimized for the Internet browsing formats of the devices. In the recent past, Sonic Automotive dealership websites have included a mobile format by merely “shrinking” the website for smaller viewing screens or by providing a format that was specific to a single hand-held device such as the iPhone. While this was an improvement, it still limited the consumer experience because each hand-held device has its own particular viewing specifications and full mobile website access, regardless of hand-held type, was not available. Now, with Sonic’s recent mobile initiative, dealership website content is optimized to provide consumers quick access to site content that is relevant to mobile users including: new and used inventory, parts and service departments, directions and dealership contact information.
“Effective marketing demands that your message appear where your consumers are. And increasingly, automotive shoppers are online, using mobile devices,” commented Rachel Richards, Sonic Automotive Vice President, Retail Strategy. “Sonic sought a method to deliver expanded dealership website content to consumers, regardless of the device used to view it. We were able to develop this new consumer-focused offering quickly and easily because of the operating system and data infrastructure we have created with Dealer.com over the past 18 months. Our partnership helps us keep our leadership position in the market today and strengthens our development in the future.”
The innovative, comprehensive online operating system created by Dealer.com and Sonic has enabled the advanced mobile application development, including integration of performance metrics into existing online reporting tools. This technology partnership helps position Sonic’s dealerships to stay at the forefront of the consumer experience, anticipating user needs and delivering website content where, when and how consumers seek it.
“It is outstanding to work with auto retailers that understand that they are not just buying a website,” commented Dean Evans, Dealer.com CMO. “Online retail marketing success requires a full-service operating system that can address all automotive consumer needs as they change with technological advancements. And this is exactly what we have created with Sonic. As mobile device use becomes ubiquitous, all dealership information must be quickly and easily accessible, no matter the particular hand-held device used. Dealerships that can effectively deliver this content have a huge competitive advantage that will only grow over time.”
About Sonic Automotive
Sonic Automotive, Inc., a Fortune 300 company based in Charlotte, N.C., is the nation’s third-largest automotive retailer, operating 154 franchises. Sonic can be reached on the web at www.sonicautomotive.com.