Sonic Automotive

  www.sonicautomotive.com
  www.sonicautomotive.com

Sonic Automotive Reviews

Updated October 27, 2014
Updated October 27, 2014
48 Reviews
2.7
48 Reviews
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Sonic Automotive Chairman and CEO O. Bruton Smith
O. Bruton Smith
22 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Too big to fail

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Sonic Automotive

    Pros

    Excellent potential for growth from low to mid level, good benefits and 401k matching. Excellent technology focus. Huge network of qualified and over achieving workers doing their part for the whole.

    Cons

    Ever changing, no transparency between vision and implementation. Knee jerk reactions instead if leveled and structured roll-outs. It's about who you know, not about 'know-how' or 'do-how.' Always seemingly a conflict with the front line employees and the back-board executives. No reward for doing well aside from pay. Very little job security, especially with how fast paced this company is trying to grow Marketshare and Additional stores.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow a better flow of information, ideas and suggestions to better your business. We realize you are busy and have too much going on, however you have many positions that seemingly only do work when the squeaky wheel whines. There is too much going by the wayside while you focus on the 'future' of the company. If you focus too much on the future you will be a company of the past.

  2.  

    It's a living. Long hours, nights and weekends, but that is the car business. Total lack of any leadership.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Consultant
    Current Employee - Sales Consultant

    I have been working at Sonic Automotive full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you are over 40, you can still get a decent paying sales job here.You will work harder than you ever worked in a B2B sales job, for less money than you have ever made. But it beats Walmart, Starbucks, or other retail sales jobs.

    Attractive women can do very well here. They do not need to know anything about cars, they do not need a college degree. They just need to know about people. It helps if they are the same etnicity of the majority of buyers.

    We do get frequent training from the manufacturer about products and crap traing from some corporate yahoo telling us how "True Price" and word tracks are the answers to everything.

    The medical benefits are good in this area because we have Kaiser. But most of the company has Blue Cross, which really sucks and is expensive. (I tried it my first year and dropped it in favor of Kaiser) The dental plan doesn't save you any money over pay as you go. There are some typical discounts that all big corporations can get for cell phone, movies, disneyland, etc. We get pizza or some other food on Saturdays where everone works 8:30 am to 7:00 pm. We work almost every weekend and all holidays except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the only two days of the year the dealership is closed. There is no holiday pay, it is just another regular workday. We get 6 to 7 days off a month. Our particular manager is very good about allowing us to choose our days off.

    The employee purchase plan for vehicles as described in the handbook would be a good deal, excpet it is at the discretion of the General Manager, who has no trouble making a few grand in profit off an employee purchase.

    On average, I make $500 in commission on a car. We get paid on both the front and the back end. So if I sell 10 cars a month, I'll make about $5,000 a month gross. I live in a very high cost of living city. I see 20 somethings earning $10,000 a month working in tech or marketing. Rent is expensive here, so $5,000 a month is not a living wage in this area.

    There are good months and bad months. On a good month, I can make $,8,500. On a bad month, barely cover my $2,500 draw. There are people here who consistently make over $10,000 a month in commissions. They are very experienced, agressive and very good at what they do.

    Our particular dealerhsip has a very orgainzied workflow, but it still takes 4 hours to meet, greet, test drive, close and deliver a car. And the rep basically does it all, from being a porter to retrieve the car from the lot to getting the car filled with gas after sale to teaching the customer all the features of the car.

    If the cusotmner isn't sure what they want, it can be longer. Only 2 out of every 10 cusotmers will actually buy, so there is a lot of wasted time with non-buyers. And a lot of standing around waiting for a cusotmer to walk in. We have an open floor, so every cusotmer is fair game to every rep working. But we work hard to be nice to everyone. There are times everything goes great until you run the cusotmer's credit and discover they are not financially qualified to buy a car. Any car.

    Their outsourced Technical Support is uniformely excellent.

    Cons

    Favoritism runs rampant. Certain favored reps get "spooned" deals that the managers have already negotiated.

    There is zero opportunity for promotion. To be promoted, one must move to another dealership and if you don't know the right people, you will never get the job. It is an "Old Boys" network. They mostly hire from outside. And they give prospective employees this stupid "Hartman Value Profile" test that asks questions like "What is worse, buring a witch at the stake or blowing up an airliner?"

    It is impossilbe to have any communication with any executive at Corporate HQ. I don't even know what 90% of them do there. Any communication is either ignored or sent back to the GM, who is now pissed off that one of his employees involved corporate. The name of the game here is give lip service to corporate, pass the audits, be able to recite The Playbook and then go back to business as usual. No one at Corporate wants to hear anything from a sales associate. They routinely roll out new technology without any mechanism for taking feedback. They post nationwide standards that may work in some less competitiver markets but don't work in more competitive ones. The do not tkae into consideration cost of living in setting salaries. $10,000 a month goes a lot farher in Phoenix than it does in Washington D.C.

    The Sales Managers and General Manager are way overpaid for what they do. There isn't a one of them that could actually do my job. Our GM is rumored to make $25K a month and never has to talk to a cusotmer. Works 7:30 to 3 PM, plus Saturday morning. He takes lots of vacations and micro manages everything, right down to the coffee and the bathrooms. Our General Sales Manger makes about $18,000 a month. Finance Managers make about $10,000 a month and clients are literally dropped into their lap.

    All the managers may have been great sales people in their day, but they are not leaders. This company promotes based upon sales achievement, not leadership. To be a great sales person means to be totally focused on your personal goals and satisfying your cusotmers. It is a solo game, not a team sport. Great leaders may not be the top performers, They are the ones who think outside the box. And that kind of think is neaither appreciate or rewarded.

    All ideas for new and better ways to do things are seen as complaints and being negative. There is very little delegation of authority. No one working here except the GM actually knows how much the dealership makes or loses, it is a closely guarded secret. All information is on a need to know basis.

    Since they are paid on the combined gross profit, a manager never has to work long hours. They can go home and still earn money. But as a sales rep, if I want to leave at the end of my "shift" and a cusotmer wants to come in later in the evening, I have to stay to even have a chance to make the commission. Otherwise, I can choose to split with another rep, but that is like taking $250 out of my wallet and giving it to him. So I stay, sometimes 10 to 12 hours in a day.

    Even though under the law, we are considered "exempt" employees, we are still required to punch a time clock and be right on time for our "shift" or face discipline. But they don;'t care (and don't pay for) staying late.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You claim you value the input associates provide in the annual Employee Satisfaction Survey, but there is no evidence that corporate takes any action based upon the feedback employees give about their managers.

    Open lines of communciation from middle managers at HQ with the field. Yes, Jeff Dyke will correspond with associates. But people are seriosuly afraid to contact him. He is the guy essentially running the company, not O. Burton Smith.

    Train your managers to LEAD, not do spreadsheets and crucn numbers. None of the managers here have ever been sent to a real, challenging leadership course. Only classes that teach the Sonic Way.

    The people working here are not kids on their first job. We have an experienced sales force, and they deserve to be treated like the professionals they are. Instead, the GM treats us like children, blames us for everything that goes wrong, but never wants to actually listen to anything we have to say. And on occasion, is downright condescending and nasty.

    Insist that Genral Managers spend the recommended percentage of sales on compensation. Stop rewarding them for cutting pay and spedning less. No GM is worht over $180K a year. If you are paying more, fire that person and find someone equally qualified who will be happy to work for that level of compensation.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Hire mature people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Sonic Automotive full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The pay was good, benefits ok.

    Cons

    Management for the accounting office was horrendous!! You can't promote immature people to be in charge of the office staff!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be careful of who you promote into management positions, just because they can talk the talk does not mean that they are right for the position!! I thinks it's best to bring someone from the outside in!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great place to work and you can move as high as you like

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Nashville, TN
    Current Employee - Manager in Nashville, TN

    I have been working at Sonic Automotive (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Very progressive company that trains its associates, Benefits are good and the company truly cares about it's customers and associates.

    Cons

    You must work hard, but evry job you must work hard that's life.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't lose sight of the vision

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Awesome

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Internet Sales in Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Internet Sales in Houston, TX

    I have been working at Sonic Automotive full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Job security, Fun work environment, training...

    Cons

    Can't think of any now.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No advice

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Smart organization focused on changing how car buying is done.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Sonic Automotive

    Pros

    Willing to invest for the long term so that customer needs are met. This is a different kind of car company.

    Cons

    The dealerships don't always understand why corporate is making so many changes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make sure you take the time to listen to what your associates are telling you.

  8.  

    Great opportunities for the right positions, other positions are expendable and can/will be outsourced.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Houston, TX

    I have been working at Sonic Automotive full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good Benefits, slight possibility of growth in certain positions, Executive level management and others at headquarters are reasonable and open to suggestions.

    Cons

    Lack of communication between Regional VPs and Headquarters, Possibility of multiple corporate visions/directions, lack of accountability, lack of transparency, rules and guidelines that are written are inconsistent and contradictory.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase transparency, share the wealth and make raises available, create one clear vision and work to enforce it instead of telling us the vision and not providing dealerships the means to achieve the vision.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    The worst place i have ever worked

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Porter in Fort Myers, FL
    Current Employee - Porter in Fort Myers, FL

    I have been working at Sonic Automotive full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    a very clean work environment.

    Cons

    No one is paid properly, management does not care about any employee. They take as much as they can and do not give anything in return!!!! Sonic automotive has a varable labor rate specified on the front of the ro as "var". instead of the labor rate going down the more you spend it is the opposite and it increases. For all customers out their do you math when you pick up your vehicle and you will realize they are charging you roughly $ 150.00 per hour and paying their employees barely enough to live.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take pride in your position and pay all employees properly. Employees that feel appricated are more likely to continue working at the company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10.  

    General Manager

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - General Manager in Atlanta, GA
    Former Employee - General Manager in Atlanta, GA

    I worked at Sonic Automotive full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Innovative, training, multiple locations and competitive benefits

    Cons

    Too many levels of management, too many emails & too many meetings

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get it together

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Sonic has lost touch with it's dealerships outside of the corporate area of Charlotte, NC, i.e.. (Columbia, SC)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Columbia, SC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Columbia, SC

    I worked at Sonic Automotive full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The insurance benefits are absolutely great. There is no such thing as promotions within your own dealership-you have to move to another for an available opening.

    Cons

    The colleague atmosphere is in an upheaval. The new "Managers" brought in haven't the faintest idea how to actually manage their teams, and I use that term loosely. Unless you are stressing yourself out or working 70+ hours a week, you aren't going to make any money. Management isn't trying to compensate for the lack of traffic with advertising.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Instead of preaching the "Corporate Dream" of "A great place to work and shop", actually take time to pay attention to the individual person, you are only as strong as your weakest link.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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