Buick will buy out dealers who don’t want to invest in its all-electric future
Summary: Buick has bold plans to go all-electric and is preparing to give existing dealers an outlet if they’re not interested in supporting the initiative. GM offered a similar program for its Cadillac brand a couple of years ago, cutting its U.S. dealer network by about a third. The initiative cost GM about $275 million and reduced its franchise network to about 575 locations across the country. Like Buick, Cadillac expects to be fully electric by 2030.
A few months ago, Buick global vice president Duncan Aldred said the division would be all-electric by 2030. Rapid electrification will require significant investment from dealers who will need to upgrade their facilities with charging stations and specialized EV service equipment to their stores. Some dealers have said repair costs could be in excess of $300,000.
Not everyone will be interested in investing so much money in an initiative. Dealers not interested in riding Buick electric vehicles will receive possibility receive a ransom from General Motors that will release them from their obligations, meaning that they will no longer be able to sell Buick models. Other GM models, such as the GMC, will not be affected by the buyback.
Buick’s U.S. market share has been stable over the past few years at about 1.2 percent, according to market research firm Motor Intelligence. Surprisingly, 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 may not be for everyone, but it seems to be the direction the industry and society are headed. California recently approved a plan to ban sales of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035, joining Massachusetts and New York in similar goals.
GM has previously said it aims to be carbon neutral by 2040 and eliminate exhaust emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035. The company also expects all of its U.S. operations to run on 100% renewable energy by 2030.
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