General Motors Co. will offer buyouts to Buick dealers in the U.S. who decide not to opt in to the brand’s plans to be all-electric by 2030, the company confirmed Friday.
The news first was reported by the Wall Street Journal ahead of a Buick dealer meeting on Friday.
The buyout program would be open to all of the brand’s 2,000 U.S. dealers, according to spokeswoman Michelle Malcho. Dealers who accept the buyout still would be able to sell other GM brands, as the program applies only to the Buick franchise.
Malcho said the brand does not have a target or estimate on how many dealers ultimately will accept a buyout.
“The shift toward electrification is accelerating here in the U.S. and in markets around the globe,” she said in a statement, noting that Buick will be an all-EV brand by 2030.
“This forward product offering needs to be combined with an exceptional customer experience,” she added. “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 in order to provide customers an exceptional experience. We see Buick’s dealers network as a business advantage, and they will remain a critical part of the retail and relationship chain with customers.”
Malcho declined to provide details on the requirements for dealers who opt to sell EVs.
Buick, GM’s premium brand, is the second of the Detroit automaker’s brands to shift toward an all-electric future, following Cadillac. The Cadillac brand already went through a dealer buyout program. Some 880 franchises that were under the Cadillac umbrella were required to invest at least $200,000 each to sell EVs starting this year. Hundreds of dealers opted to instead take a buyout.
In June, Buick unveiled the Wildcat concept to preview its future all-EV lineup. Buick is bringing back its Electra name for its electric vehicles, beginning with a new model in 2024, as it phases out its gas-powered lineup. The brand — which is most successful in China — does not yet have any EVs on the market.
GM aims to have a fully zero-emissions lineup by 2035. The automaker is investing $35 billion on EVs and autonomous vehicles by 2025, by which time it plans to introduce 30 electric nameplates globally.
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