According to the Wall Street Journal, Buick is willing to buy out dealers who do not want to incur the necessary expenses to transition to electric vehicles.
In an interview with the WSJ, Global Buick Chief Duncan Aldred stated that all 2,000 Buick franchise dealers in the United States would be offered buyouts. If the dealer accepts the buyout, they will no longer be associated with the Buick brand. However, they will be able to sell other General Motors vehicles. Buick is rebranding as an EV-only manufacturer, intending to reach 100 percent electric sales by the decade’s end.
This will dealers will need modifications such as chargers and EV-specific repair equipment. It will also fundamentally alter how dealers conduct business, with some expressing concern about the shift to EV sales. Many automakers are pressuring dealers to make costly store renovations to accommodate charging stations and EV-specific service equipment.
According to the Wall Street Journal, these renovations can cost up to $300,000 per dealership.
This is not the first time GM has offered dealer buyouts.
According to the company, Cadillac dealers who do not want to invest $150,000 in improvements to provide the new Lyriq EV could opt for a buyout in 2020. GM reported that approximately one-third of the dealers, or 575, accepted the buyout last year. Buick does not currently sell electric vehicles but plans to do so in 2024. By 2035, all GM brands, including Cadillac, GMC, and Chevrolet, will only sell EVs.
The Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV, the Hummer EV, and the Cadillac Lyriq are the only available EVs in the United States. Next year, the company plans to release the electric Chevy Silverado pickup truck, the Chevy Equinox and Blazer EVs, and the Cadillac Celestiq. Currently, the carmaker sells compact EVs in China in collaboration with the state-owned SAIC.