Buick will buy out dealers who don’t want to invest in its all-electric future
Buick has bold plans for its all-electric transition and is preparing to give existing dealers a way out if they aren’t interested in supporting the initiative. GM offered a similar program for its Cadillac brand a couple of years ago, which reduced its network of dealers in the US by about one-third. The initiative cost GM around $275 million and reduced its franchise network to around 575 locations across the country. Like Buick, Cadillac expects to be all-electric by 2030.
A few months back, Buick global VP Duncan Aldred said the division would be all-electric by 2030. The rapid electrification effort will require a substantial investment from dealers who will need to update their facilities with charging stations and specialized equipment to service EVs in their shops. Some dealers have said refurbishment costs could total more than $300,000.
Not everyone will be interested in dumping that much money into the initiative. Dealers not interested in going on Buick’s EV ride will have the opportunity to take a buyout from General Motors that’ll free them of the commitment, meaning they’ll no longer be able to sell Buick models. Other GM models, like GMC, would be unaffected by a buyout.
According to research firm Motor Intelligence, Buick’s market share in the US has been steady at around 1.2 percent over the last few years. Surprisingly enough, the division is strongest in China where it sells about four times as many vehicles as it does in the US.
Embracing an all-electric future might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it seems to be the direction the industry – and society – is heading. California recently approved a plan to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, joining Massachusetts and New York who have similar goals.
GM previously said it aims to be carbon neutral by 2040 and will eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035. It also expects all of its US facilities to be running on 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.