Buick dealers expect to spend at least ‘$300 to $400K’ to sell EVs as the brand goes all-electric

General Motors is giving its Buick dealers an ultimatum – invest in the company’s future as it transitions to an all-electric future, or take a buyout. However, with the minimum upfront costs ranging from $300,000 to $400,000, some Buick dealers are apparently taking GM up on its buyout offer.

As part of GM’s commitment to an all-electric lineup, it will convert all of its brands – Chevy, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac – into EV-only brands as it phases out gas cars.

To do so, General Motors, like most legacy automakers are realizing, will need to work with its dealers to make the transition as efficient as possible and to compete in the expanding EV market.

That’s a task that’s easier said than done. For one thing, dealerships need certain upgrades for charging infrastructure, retooling, and training employees.

After receiving pushback from some dealers in 2020, GM offered up to $500,000 in settlements to Cadillac dealers that didn’t want to invest and sell EVs as it geared up for the launch of the Lyriq.

General Motors is doing the same with its Buick dealers as the brand prepares to release its first electric vehicle in the US in 2024 on its way to becoming a fully electric brand by the decade’s end.

Buick Electra E5 released in China (Source: Buick)

Some Buick dealers opt out of GMs all-electric future

According to the Detroit Free Press, there are at least a few Buick dealers not ready to invest and take part in the auto industry’s future.

Although a GM spokesperson declined to comment on the number, a Buick dealership owner (who wanted to remain anonymous due to the buyout terms) told reporters the company offered him inventory from other franchises that took GM up on its buyout offer.

Meanwhile, a metro Detroit area Buick dealer told the Detroit Free Press that, as far as he knows, all Buick dealerships in the metro area are investing in selling electric vehicles.

In a statement, Sean Poppitt, a Buick spokesperson, said:

We see Buick’s dealer network as a business advantage, and they will remain a critical part of the retail and relationship chain with customers. Acceptance of an offer is voluntary, but all Buick dealers who remain must be adequately prepared to sell and service Buick EVs.

Poppitt added that the minimum investment for Buick dealers to sell EVs is around $300,000 to $400,000, but it could vary depending on the size and other GM brands they offer.

Buick is preparing to be an all-electric brand by 2030, with its first fully electric vehicle in the US expected in 2024. The automaker gave us a glimpse of what the brand could look like in the electric era with its Wildcat EV concept. In addition, Buick just released its first Ultium-based EV in China, with the “Electra” brand name slated to arrive in the US.

Electrek’s Take

As GM and other automakers look to catch Tesla in electric vehicle sales, they are realizing the need to streamline the process to make it as efficient as possible.

Part of the process includes slimming up operations and getting the dealerships that want to participate the resources they need. Ford said earlier this month that two-thirds of its dealers joined its Model e program to sell EVs, leaving the other one-third without any until 2027.

As Buick transitions toward an all-electric future, it may make sense for GM to operate from fewer dealerships.

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Avatar for Peter Johnson Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is covering the auto industry’s step-by-step transformation to electric vehicles. He is an experienced investor, financial writer, and EV enthusiast. His enthusiasm for electric vehicles, primarily Tesla, is a significant reason he pursued a career in investments. If he isn’t telling you about his latest 10K findings, you can find him enjoying the outdoors or exercising