General Motors is offering to buyout any of its nearly 2,000 Buick dealerships in the U.S. that are not willing to make the investments needed for the automaker’s transition to an all-electric brand.
Buick plans to exclusively sell electric vehicles by 2030 and as part of this overhaul, dealers will be required to make investments in charging stations and various store upgrades. While it is unclear how much Buick dealerships will need to invest, GM required Cadillac dealers to spend an average of $200,000 to get them ready to sell EVs last year.
Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Global Buick chief Duncan Aldred said that dealers who accept a buyout will no longer be able to sell vehicles from the brand. However, most won’t need to shut up shop since almost all Buick dealers also sell other GM-branded models, in particular those from GMC. Moving forward, these dealers simply wouldn’t stock Buick models.
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“Not everyone necessarily wants to make that journey, depending on where they’re located or the level of expenditure that the transition will demand,” Aldred said. “So if they want to exit the Buick franchise, then we will give them monetary assistance to do so.”
GM’s buyout program for Cadillac dealerships saw approximately one-third of dealers accepting a buyout of between $300,000 and over $500,000. GM spent roughly $275 million on the program.
While Buick intends on only selling electric vehicles by 2030, it doesn’t actually have any EVs in its current range. However, this is set to change in 2024 when the car manufacturer introduces an all-electric SUV.
The carmaker’s EV transition could also prove particularly important for its future in the Chinese market where it sells more than four times the number of vehicles that it does in the United States.