GM will offer buyouts to operators of Buick storefronts that do not want to make the required investments to equip their dealerships with vehicle chargers and other equipment necessary to sell the brand’s upcoming EV models.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Buick brand boss Duncan Aldred said the buyouts will be extended to all 2,000 of its U.S. franchised dealerships, although he declined to say how many he thought would accept the offer.
GM offered similar buyouts to its franchised Cadillac dealers in 2020 as it prepared for the arrival of the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq, which brought its U.S. store count from 900 down to about 565. The automaker had previously told these dealers a six-figure investment would be required to prep for the arrival of new EV products, supporting the installation of new maintenance facility tooling and EV charging stations, as well as employee training. The majority of dealers that accepted the buyout were located in rural areas where EVs will likely remain unviable, or in markets where eco-friendly vehicles are simply unpopular.
“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 told WSJ. “So if they want to exit the Buick franchise, then we will give them monetary assistance to do so.”
While Buick does not currently sell any battery-electric models in the United States, the premium brand has EVs in development. It will introduce its first production EV in 2024, which will kick off a slow transition to an all-electric model portfolio that will be complete by 2030. The first Buick EV, which will receive the ‘Electra’ moniker, is expected to be a small crossover of some type. Future Buick EVs will tap GM’s Ultium modular battery design and Ultium Drive electric motors.