Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies) - USD ($)
3 Months Ended 9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2021
Sep. 30, 2021
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, 2021 and 2020 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 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, 2020.
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).
Retrospective finance and insurance revenues (“F&I retro revenues”) are recognized when the product contract has been executed with the end customer and the transaction price is estimated each reporting period based on the expected value method using historical and projected data. 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 it being probable that the proceeds from the sale will be collected.
The accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated balance sheets as of September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020 include approximately $27.5 million and $21.7 million, respectively, related to contract assets from F&I retro revenues recognition. Changes in contract assets from December 31, 2020 to September 30, 2021 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, 2020 for further discussion of our revenue recognition policies and processes.
Income Tax Expense   Income Taxes – The overall effective tax rate from continuing operations was 24.6% and 24.9% for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021, respectively, and 25.6% and 13.6% for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020, respectively. Income tax benefit for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 includes a $55.8 million benefit, including the effect of non-deductible amounts, related to the $268.0 million goodwill impairment charge related to adjustments in fair value of goodwill for the Franchised Dealerships Segment (as defined below). Sonic’s effective tax rate varies from year to year based on the level of taxable income, the distribution of taxable income between states in which the Company operates and other tax adjustments.
Per Share Data and Stockholders' Equity   Earnings Per Share The calculation of diluted earnings per share considers the potential dilutive effect of restricted stock units, restricted stock awards and stock options granted under Sonic’s stock compensation plans (and any non-forfeitable dividends paid on such awards) To the extent that we report a net loss in any period presented, basic and diluted loss per share are the same as there is no dilutive effect of outstanding stock awards in a net loss position.
Pending Acquisition [Text Block]  
Pending Acquisition On September 17, 2021, Sonic entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”) with RFJMS, Inc., a Delaware corporation and a direct, wholly owned subsidiary of Sonic (“Merger Sub”), RFJ Auto Partners, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“RFJ Auto”), and The Resolute Fund III, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership, solely in its capacity as the representative of RFJ Auto’s equityholders, pursuant to which Merger Sub will merge with and into RFJ Auto (the “Acquisition”), with RFJ Auto surviving the merger and becoming a direct, wholly owned subsidiary of Sonic. RFJ Auto is an automotive dealership platform based in Dallas, Texas. The Acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Subject to the terms and conditions of the Merger Agreement and other customary adjustments set forth in the Merger Agreement, the purchase price payable by Sonic pursuant to the Merger Agreement is expected to be approximately $964.9 million comprising (1) approximately $576.1 million for the goodwill and other intangible assets and real estate assets of RFJ Auto and each of its subsidiaries, plus (2) approximately $136.5 million for property and equipment including real estate assets, plus (3) approximately $271.5 million for new and used vehicle inventories, plus (4) approximately $67.0 million for accounts receivable, minus (5) approximately $86.2 million related to liabilities assumed net of other miscellaneous assets. The value, and therefore the resulting purchase price, of RFJ Auto’s parts and accessories inventory, supplies, repair work-in-process and new and used vehicle inventories and other assets acquired or liabilities assumed by Sonic are all subject to change based on natural fluctuations in the business of RFJ Auto prior to the closing of the Acquisition and the foregoing amounts are management’s estimate based on currently available information. The Acquisition will be funded with the proceeds of the Company’s offering of the 2021 Notes (as defined below) (See Note 10, “Subsequent Events”) and borrowings on our floor plan credit facilities.
Other Payments to Acquire Businesses $ 964.9