Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Leases, Codification Topic 842

Leases, Codification Topic 842
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2020
Leases [Abstract]  
Lessee, Operating Leases [Text Block]
15. Leases
The majority of our leases are related to dealership properties that are subject to long-term lease arrangements. In addition, we have certain equipment leases and contracts containing embedded leased assets that have been evaluated and included in the recorded ROU asset and lease liabilities as appropriate.
As a result of the adoption of ASC Topic 842, “Leases,” on January 1, 2019, we are required to recognize a ROU asset and a lease liability in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets at the lease commencement date. For operating leases, the lease liability is initially and subsequently measured at the present value of the unpaid lease payments at the lease commencement date. For finance leases, the lease liability is initially measured in the same manner and date as for operating leases and is subsequently measured at reduced cost using the effective interest method.
The ROU asset is initially measured at cost, which comprises the initial amount of the lease liability adjusted for lease payments made at or before the lease commencement date, plus any initial direct costs incurred or previously recognized favorable lease assets, less any lease incentives received or previously recognized lease exit accruals. For operating leases, the ROU asset is subsequently measured throughout the lease term at the carrying amount of the lease liability, plus initial direct costs, plus (minus) any prepaid (accrued) lease payments, less the unamortized balance of lease incentives received. Lease expense for lease payments is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term. For finance leases, the ROU asset is reduced using the straight-line method from the lease commencement date to the earlier of the end of its useful life or the end of the lease term unless the lease transfers ownership of the underlying asset to us or we are reasonably certain to exercise an option to purchase the underlying asset. In those cases, the ROU asset is reduced over the expected useful life of the underlying asset. Expense related to the reduction of the ROU asset is recognized and presented separately from interest expense on the lease liability.
Variable lease payments associated with our leases are recognized when the event, activity or circumstance in the lease agreement on which those payments are assessed occurs. Variable lease payments are presented as operating expense in our consolidated statements of operations in the same line item as expense arising from fixed lease payments (operating leases) or expense related to the reduction of the ROU asset (finance leases).
ROU assets for operating and finance leases are periodically reduced by impairment losses. We use the long-lived assets impairment guidance in ASC Topic 360, “Property, Plant, and Equipment,” to determine whether the ROU asset is impaired and, if so, the amount of the impairment loss to recognize.
We regularly monitor events or changes in circumstances that may require a reassessment of one of our leases. When a reassessment results in the remeasurement of a lease liability, a corresponding adjustment is made to the carrying amount of the corresponding ROU asset unless doing so would reduce the carrying amount of the ROU asset to an amount less than zero. In that case, the amount of the adjustment that would result in a negative ROU asset balance is recorded in profit or loss.
Key estimates and judgments related to the measurement and recording of ROU assets and lease liabilities include how we determine: (1) the discount rate used to discount the unpaid lease payments to present value; and (2) the expected lease term, including any extension options.
ASC Topic 842, “Leases,” requires a lessee to discount its unpaid lease payments using the interest rate implicit in the lease or, if that rate cannot be readily determined, its incremental borrowing rate. Generally, we cannot determine the interest rate implicit in the lease because we do not have access to the lessor’s estimated residual value or the amount of the lessor’s deferred initial direct costs. Therefore, we generally use our incremental borrowing rate as the discount rate for the lease. We determined the discount rate for our leases based on the risk-free rate as of the measurement date for varying maturities
corresponding to the remaining lease term, adjusted for the risk-premium attributed to Sonic’s corporate credit rating for a secured or collateralized instrument.
Many of our lease arrangements have one or more existing renewal options to extend the lease term (typically in five- to 10-year increments), which were considered in the calculation of the ROU assets and lease liabilities if we determined that it was reasonably certain that an extension option would be exercised. The lease term for all of the Company’s leases includes the non-cancelable period of the lease plus any additional periods covered by our option to extend the lease that we are reasonably certain to exercise. We determined the probability of the exercise of a lease extension option based on our long-term strategic business outlook and the condition and remaining useful life of the fixed assets at the location subject to the lease agreement, among other factors.
The majority of our lease agreements require fixed monthly payments (subject to either specific or index-based escalations in future periods) while other agreements require variable lease payments based on changes in LIBOR or any replacement thereof. Lease payments included in the measurement of the lease liability comprise the: (1) fixed lease payments, including in-substance fixed payments, owed over the lease term, which include termination penalties we would owe if the estimated lease term assumes that we would be likely to exercise a termination option prior to the earliest expiration date; (2) variable lease payments that depend on an index or rate, initially measured using the index or rate at the lease commencement date; and (3) the exercise price of our option to purchase the underlying asset if we are reasonably certain to exercise the option. Our leases do not typically contain residual value guarantees.
In certain situations, we have entered into sublease agreements whereby we sublease all or a portion of a leased real estate asset to a third party. To the extent that we have a sublease related to a lease agreement for an asset that we are no longer using in operations, we have reduced the ROU asset by any applicable net deficiency in expected cash flows from that sublease (either due to partial monthly sublease proceeds or a sublease term less than the remaining master lease term). The new lease standard also provides practical expedients for ongoing accounting. We elected the short-term lease recognition exemption for our real estate and equipment leases, which means that for those leases that qualify, we do not recognize ROU assets or lease liabilities and recognize the expense related to the short-term leases on a straight-line basis over the lease term and any variable lease payments in the period in which the obligation for those payments is incurred. We have also elected the practical expedient that allows us not to separate non-lease components of an agreement from lease components (for certain non-real estate assets).
Following is information related to lease expenses and other lease-related information for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:
Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2020 Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2019
Lease Expense (In thousands)
Finance lease expense
Reduction of right-of-use assets $ 3,448  $ 3,213 
Interest on lease liabilities 5,432  5,097 
Operating lease expense (1) 65,856  68,367 
Short-term lease expense (1) 1,464  1,570 
Variable lease expense 5,185  2,120 
Sublease income (12,187) (14,207)
Total $ 69,198  $ 66,160 
(1)Included in operating cash flows in the accompanying consolidated statements of cash flows.
Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2020 Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2019
Other Information (In thousands)
Cash paid for amounts included in the measurement of lease liabilities
Financing cash flows for finance leases $ 21,906  $ 5,181 
Operating cash flows for finance leases $ 5,432  $ 5,097 
Operating cash flows for operating leases $ 65,834  $ 69,834 
Right-of-use assets obtained in exchange for lease liabilities
Finance leases $ 35,056  $ 10,926 
Operating leases (1) $ 50,046  $ 22,055 
(1)Includes the impact of reclassification of right-of-use assets from operating leases to finance leases due to remeasurement.
December 31, 2020 December 31, 2019
Other Information
Weighted-average remaining lease term (in years)
Finance leases 11.3 11.8
Operating leases 9.7 9.5
Weighted-average discount rate
Finance leases 13.89  % 18.74  %
Operating leases 6.60  % 6.69  %

Undiscounted Lease Cash Flows Under ASC Topic 842 as of December 31, 2020
Finance Operating Receipts from Subleases
Year Ending December 31, (In thousands)
2021 $ 9,891  $ 62,935  $ (8,956)
2022 9,909  56,233  (6,103)
2023 9,978  54,167  (6,103)
2024 10,105  48,872  (5,042)
2025 10,213  42,460  (1,916)
Thereafter 60,712  203,171  (2,354)
Total $ 110,808  $ 467,838  $ (30,474)
Less: Present value discount (45,003) (128,935)
Lease liabilities $ 65,805  $ 338,903