The future of motoring is electric, but not all auto dealers are ready or willing to make the transition. In some cases, automakers are offering franchise buyouts to dealers. But Chevrolet apparently won't be part of that group.
Speaking recently to The Verge, Chevrolet Global Vice-President Scott Bell said the brand wouldn't partake in buyouts. Cadillac has already thinned its dealership count through a round of buyouts, ultimately cutting nearly 600 outlets from the roster. Recently, Buick announced it would also offer dealer buyouts for those not choosing to invest in EVs. With these companies all part of General Motors, most dealers carry multiple brands. But those choosing to exit Cadillac and Buick only have Chevrolet and GMC left.
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Bell sees that as a good thing for Chevrolet, which has a much larger dealership network than Buick or Cadillac. He noted that a vast majority of Chevy dealers already sell the Bolt, suggesting that these locations are ready for an electric future. It's unclear if Chevrolet will require dealers to make expensive upgrades to sell EVs, which was a caveat for Cadillac dealers to stay with the brand. And the last we heard, GMC wouldn't offer buyouts either.
Recently, Ford gave an EV ultimatum to its dealers not unlike that of Cadillac, but without a buyout option. The dealer investment is also higher, estimated to be between $500,000 and $1.5 million. However, this outlines two tiers of EV sales for Ford dealers, and if they don't choose to make the investment, the locations can still sell Ford vehicles. They just have to stick with internal combustion and hybrid models, which will still exist for several years to come.
Motor1.com contacted Chevrolet for additional information regarding its position with dealerships going forward into an EV future. A spokesperson confirmed Bell's statements, noting that 95 percent of sales comes from dealerships already selling the Bolt.
"We have a network of dealers who are true believers in our all-electric future and are trained and ready to offer more EVs as they enter the marketplace.
Our mission is to be able to offer EVs for everyone, regardless of lifestyle or intended use. Chevrolet is uniquely positioned to provide EV accessibility thanks to our dealer partners – as 87 percent of the population live within 10 miles of a Chevrolet dealership. We are working on launching EV fulfillment locations for dealers to source vehicles quickly, reduce dealer costs, and deliver to customers quickly. We are also implementing a Dealer EV infrastructure and a Dealer Community Charging program.
We are also committed to giving customers the tools they need to learn about, manage and enjoy their EVs: And to ensure our customers are always in the know, we’ve got EV experts at the ready at Chevy MyWay, EV Live integration for that latest EV education and our network of 2,000 dealers who are trained to support our customers."