GM's Buick Dealerships Navigate EVs Transition: Buyouts, Sales Growth, and Challenges
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GM’s Buick Dealerships Navigate EVs Transition: Buyouts, Sales Growth, and Challenges

Electra E5 parked with family watching hot air balloons in background
  • Nearly half of all U.S. Buick dealerships are accepting buyouts from GM this year rather than investing in selling EVs.
  • Buick dealers needed to commit a minimum investment of $300,000 to $400,000 to prepare their dealerships to sell and service Buick EVs.
  • GM said its Buick and Cadillac brands will go all-electric by 2030, and all brands will electrify by 2035.

The dealership situation regarding the sale of electric vehicles in the United States continues to evolve. GM is transitioning to all-electric vehicles (EVs) in the future. The current expectation is that this will happen between 2030 and 2035. GM said its Buick and Cadillac brands will go all-electric by 2030, prioritizing them before its other brands. This plan caused nearly half of all U.S. Buick dealerships to accept buyouts from GM this year rather than invest in selling Buick EVs.


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“I’ve had zero negative feedback, if that tells you anything,” Buick / GMC National Dealer Council Chairman Bo Mandal said. “What I love about this whole scenario is its true entrepreneurship. You can make and decide your own fate and what you want to do with your own business.”

At the end of 2022, Buick reported that it would be asking its dealers to commit a minimum investment of $300,000 to $400,000 to prepare their dealerships to sell and service Buick EVs. After the buyouts are complete, GM will end 2023 with roughly 1,000 Buick stores nationwide, down 47% from where it began the year. There were 1,958 Buick franchises at the beginning of 2023. GM offered a similar buyout to Cadillac dealers in 2020.

“I’m really pleased with where we are,” Global Buick / GMC Vice President Duncan Aldred said. “The network, where we are now, is a good size. It’s with dealers who are focused on the business, who’ve shown that they can recover the volume that the dealers who transitioned away were doing.”

From November 2022 to November 2023, Buick’s sales rose 58%. The almost 1,000 dealerships that left the franchise in 2023 were not selling the most vehicles. The dealerships that accepted the buyouts accounted for roughly 20 percent of Buick U.S. sales. This indicates that the dealerships that remained with Buick enjoyed much stronger sales figures.

GM’s electric vehicles, including Buick EVs, are important to the overall EV revolution. The Buick Electra E5 will be Buick’s first electric vehicle when it goes on sale in late 2024.

GM’s U.S. EV sales represented less than 2% of the company’s sales in 2022. GM was one of the companies to cut back on EV production in late 2023. The company abandoned its plan to build 400,000 electric vehicles from 2022 through mid-2024 to maximize profitability. The automaker has struggled to compete in the EV industry with all-electric car companies, such as Tesla. Like many legacy OEMs, the company’s dealerships were largely unprepared for EV sales, as many customers have complained.


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IMAGES: BUICK

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AUTHOR: 

BILL PIERCE

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