General Motors said that it will offer all of its Buick franchise dealers in the U.S. buyouts,the Wall Street Journal reported. In June 2022, Buick announced plans to go all-electric by 2030 starting with a crossover SUV in 2024.
Global Vice President of Buick and GMC, Duncan Aldred, told WSJ that shifting to EVs will require significant investments by Buick dealers.
“So if they want to exit the Buick franchise, then we will give them monetary assistance to do so,” he said.
Aldred was expected to outline the plan during a virtual meeting this afternoon. Aldred pointed out that for GM to meet its goal of selling only EVs by 2030, this would require substantial investments in equipment which includes charging stations and upgrades.
“Not everyone necessarily wants to make that journey, depending on where they’re located or the level of expenditure that the transition will demand.”
“So if they want to exit the Buick franchise, then we will give them monetary assistance to do so.”
According to a GM spokeswoman, the future requirements for dealers are important to the company’s electrification goals. She told Reuters,
“The future dealer requirements are a logical and necessary next step on our path towards electrification to ensure our dealers are prepared to properly sell and service these unique vehicles.”
Last year, GM also offered Cadillac dealers buyouts and around 150 dealers accepted those offers over investing in EVs. GM told those dealers that for them to sell its upcoming EVs, they would need to make at least $200,000 in upgrades which would cover EV chargers, tooling, and training.
Buick just offered to buy out ALL of its U.S. dealers.
Holy sh*t. 🤯
DTC is happening.
— CarDealershipGuy (@GuyDealership) September 2, 2022
Direct to consumers sales is something that Tesla, Rivian, Lucid, and several other automakers selling EVs offer, and they bypass the dealership model. Although I don’t think that the dealership’s reign will end swiftly, it would, however, send shockwaves through the automotive world if one of GM’s brands suddenly started selling directly to the consumer as the tweet above suggested.
Currently, several states ban direct-to-consumer sales and Tesla is suing Louisiana to overturn that ban. Connecticut’s dealerships have fought long and hard to keep Tesla and other EV makers from selling directly to consumers.
If Buick suddenly went direct to consumers, then it would currently be limited to where it can sell to customers. However, Buick and GM would probably lobby the states to allow them to sell directly to consumers. Will this ever happen? Probably not. It would be interesting, though.
Note: Johnna is a Tesla shareholder and supports its mission.