Buick to Buyout Dealers Unwilling to Sell Electric Vehicles

General Motors started to shift all of its brands to electrification. One of those automakers is Buick, releasing its first electric SUV in the next few years. Following that, the brand announced it would only sell EVs after 2030. With that news in mind, many traditional dealerships are not ready to make that change and want to stick with fossil fuel vehicles. As a result, Buick is offering a buyout to any dealers unwilling to sell electric cars.

Buick is going electric

a silver Wildcat concept car
The Buick Wildcat EV concept | Buick

According to Car and Driver, Buick will reveal the first all-electric Buick sometime in 2023. The Electra will officially arrive sometime in 2024 as a 2025 model year. C/D says it’s expected to share a lot with the previously revealed Buick Wildcat concept (pictured above). With electrification on the rise, seasoned automakers like Buick aren’t going to stop with one model. The GM brand plans to shift its entire lineup toward electrification, producing only EVs starting with the 2030 model year.

In addition to EVs, the brand will only sell electric SUVs. That means no new Buick sedans will return to the lineup. Moreover, news like this can be scary to dealership groups. Not only because of the switch over to a complete inventory of EVs but the costs that come with it. However, this particular General Motors brand is ready to take action.

Buick will buyout dealers who don’t want to sell EVs

A silver 2022 Buick Enclave midsize luxury SUV. Why aren't more people buying one of Consumer Reports higher rated models?
2022 Buick Enclave | Buick

Some traditional dealership owners have noted their unwillingness to switch to a completely electric seller. This is true for many more automakers than just GM or Buick. As a result, Buick is acting against it, announcing it will purchase dealers who refuse to go the EV route.

“Duncan Aldred, global vice president of Buick and GMC, revealed to the Wall Street Journal this week that all of the 1900-plus Buick dealerships in the U.S. will be given buyout offers to those who don’t want to be a part of the brand’s shift to selling only electric vehicles,” Car and Driver reported.

While it might seem silly for a Buick dealer to refuse to sell the latest Buick product, it’s a bit more complicated. For example, dealers must outfit their locations with charging stations and other upgrades. How can it call itself an EV dealer without proper charging locations?

Furthermore, dealership technicians require EV certification, which will require extensive training. As a result, the paid training for existing technicians, plus wasted time spent not working on dealership cars, could be more expensive than the charging stations. While used cars remain the same, new car sales being completely EVs will require all techs to know how to work on them.

How can Buick buy its own dealers?

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If you’re unfamiliar with the dealership world, it’s a bit like franchising a fast food restaurant. Dealership groups, or sometimes single dealers, are usually owned by an individual or family. From there, they must make connections and pay for manufacturers to fill their stores with new inventory. As a result, there are always some who disagree with the actions the brand they rely on is taking.

One of those things, as you might’ve guessed, is electrification. While many won’t want to invest money in chargers and EV-certified technicians, others just don’t like EVs. We’ve all met more traditional drivers or car enthusiasts who aren’t interested in moving away from fossil-fuel-powered vehicles. Regardless of their reasoning, this particular automaker offers them a way out. Instead of arguing or forcing a dealer to sell only EVs, a buyout is on the table for every participating location.

In conclusion, this Buick buyout is the first we’ve heard about. However, many automakers are moving to complete electrification within the decade. As a result, we’d expect more news like this to surface sooner than later. Buick is the first automaker to give its dealers a way out of selling EVs only, offering to buy every location out instead.

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