Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2020
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Basis of Presentation Basis of Presentation The accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements of Sonic Automotive, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiaries (“Sonic,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our”) for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020 and 2019 are unaudited and have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“U.S. GAAP”) for interim financial information and applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Accordingly, they do not include all of the information and footnotes required by U.S. GAAP for complete financial statements. The accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements reflect, in the opinion of management, all material normal, recurring adjustments necessary to fairly state the financial position, results of operations and cash flows for the periods presented. The operating results for interim periods are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for the entire fiscal year or future interim periods, because the first quarter historically has contributed less operating profit than the second and third quarters, while the fourth quarter historically has contributed the highest operating profit of any quarter. Additionally, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could impact earnings for the remainder of 2020 and beyond. The accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto included in Sonic’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.
Principles of Consolidation Principles of Consolidation All of our dealership and non-dealership subsidiaries are wholly owned and consolidated in the accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements, except for one 50%-owned dealership that is accounted for under the equity method. All material intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in the accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements.
Revenue from Contract with Customers
Revenue Recognition – Revenue is recognized when a customer obtains control of promised goods or services and in an amount that reflects the consideration that the entity expects to receive in exchange for those goods or services. ASC Topic 606, “Revenue from Contracts with Customers,” applies a five-step model that includes: (1) identifying the contract(s) with the customer; (2) identifying the performance obligation(s) in the contract(s); (3) determining the transaction price; (4) allocating the transaction price to the performance obligation(s) in the contract(s); and (5) recognizing revenue as the performance obligation(s) are satisfied. The standard also requires disclosure of the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from contracts with customers. We do not include the cost of obtaining contracts within the related revenue streams since we elected the practical expedient to expense the costs to obtain a contract when incurred.
Management has evaluated our established business processes, revenue transaction streams and accounting policies, and identified our material revenue streams to be: (1) the sale of new vehicles; (2) the sale of used vehicles to retail customers; (3) the sale of wholesale used vehicles at third-party auctions; (4) the arrangement of vehicle financing and the sale of service, warranty and other insurance contracts; and (5) the performance of vehicle maintenance and repair services and the sale of related parts and accessories. Generally, performance conditions are satisfied when the associated vehicle is either delivered or returned to a customer and customer acceptance has occurred, or over time as the maintenance and repair services are performed. We do not have any revenue streams with significant financing components as payments are typically received within a short period of time following completion of the performance obligation(s). Certain retrospective finance and insurance revenue is earned in periods subsequent to the completion of the initial performance obligation (“F&I retro revenues”).
F&I retro revenues are recognized when the product contract has been executed with the end customer and are estimated each reporting period based on the expected value method using historical and projected data, which results in the acceleration of revenue recognition. F&I retro revenues, which represent variable consideration, subject to constraint, are to be included in the transaction price and recognized when or as the performance obligation is satisfied. F&I retro revenues can vary based on a variety of factors, including number of contracts and history of cancellations and claims. Accordingly, we utilize this historical and projected data to constrain the consideration to the extent that it is probable that a significant reversal in the amount of cumulative revenue will not occur when the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is subsequently resolved.
We record revenue when vehicles are delivered to customers, when vehicle service work is performed and when parts are delivered. Conditions for completing a sale include having an agreement with the customer, including pricing, and the sales price must be reasonably expected to be collected.
Receivables, net in the accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated balance sheets as of September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2019 include approximately $4.3 million and $5.1 million, respectively, related to work in process and contract assets related to F&I retro revenues of approximately $11.1 million and $12.9 million, respectively. Changes in contract assets from December 31, 2019 to September 30, 2020 were primarily due to ordinary business activity, including the receipt of cash for amounts earned and recognized in prior periods. Please refer to Note 1, “Description of Business and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies,” to the consolidated financial statements in Sonic’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 for further discussion of our revenue recognition policies and processes.