Chevrolet won’t follow sibling General Motors brands Buick and Cadillac in offering buyouts to dealerships that don’t want to sell electric vehicles, a GM executive said in a recent interview with The Verge.
In fact, the dealerships that take buyouts for their Buick and Cadillac franchises could end up selling Chevys exclusively, GM global vice president Scott Bell said in the interview.
“The minute they pull back and say, ‘You know what, I’m not ready to go all-in for those brands,’ they’re now 100% a Chevy dealer, which is a good thing for Chevrolet,” Bell said.
Because while Buick and Cadillac are slated to go all-electric by the end of the decade, and GM has said it “aspires” to eliminate tailpipes from its light-duty vehicles by 2035, the automaker hasn’t set a firm date for Chevy to stop selling internal-combustion vehicles.
Buick’s boss recently said the brand would offer buyouts to all of the brand’s roughly 2,000 franchised dealers if they didn’t want to go all-in on EVs. This follows a similar offer of buyouts from Cadillac.
Selling EVs often comes with mandates for additional investments in charging equipment. Cadillac has required a big investment from dealers, including 80-amp chargers, estimated to cost up to $200,000 per dealership.
While increased investment could be a turn-off, it’s worth noting that many GMC dealers made some investments to sell the Hummer EV. And dealers representing 95% of Chevy’s sales are already selling the Bolt EV, Bell told The Verge.
In addition to dealership costs, increased EV sales also beg the question of whether automakers should switch from the franchise model to the direct-sales model demonstrated by Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid. Ford has tried to bridge the gap by retaining franchised dealers for its Model E division, but with new contracts that will require non-negotiable pricing for EVs.
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