CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Monday, Sonic Automotive announced it has sold Cornerstone Acceptance Corp., its automotive finance subsidiary.

Sonic said it realized cash proceeds of about $33 million from the sale.

B. Scott Smith, president and chief strategic officer, reported, "We are pleased to announce the attainment of another one of our strategic objectives for this year. The sale was executed exactly as we had planned. By selling the business we were able to free up substantial capital and allow our dealerships continued access to this key finance source.

"We plan to use the sale proceeds to increase our share repurchase activity and pay down debt," he explained.