DETROIT – Buick will end 2023 with only around 1,000 dealerships nationwide after nearly half of its stores opted to take voluntary buyouts from parent company General Motors rather than invest in selling and servicing electric models.
Buick has committed to having an all-electric lineup by 2030. The “Detroit Free Press” newspaper reports that beginning late last year, GM began asking dealers to commit to invest a minimum of $300,000 to $400,000 to be ready for EVs. The alternative was to accept a buyout.
The website “Carscoops” reports Buick had 1,958 franchises across the nation at the start of the year, but will be down 47 percent when the new year arrives. The Buick website today lists only three dealers in Connecticut – Stephen Buick GMC in Hartford, Wallingford Buick GMC, and Buick GMC of Watertown.
Among the dealerships in the state that have apparently shed Buick are D’Addario Cadillac in Shelton, Gallagher GMC in New Britain, Vachon GMC in Putnam, Brustolon GMC in Old Saybrook, Ingersoll Auto of Danbury, and Northwest Hills in Torrington. Some of the stores’ websites still display the Buick brand name.
CNBC reports that the buyouts have already cost GM about $1 billion and are still being offered. Despite the dramatic loss of stores, Buick says 89 percent of the population remain with 25 miles of a dealership. Sales for November were up 58 percent over November 2022, the company said, suggesting greater volume at the remaining outlets.
Most of the dealers that accepted buyouts were smaller stores, which no doubt found the cost of switching to EVs onerous. They only accounted for 20 percent of Buick’s sales.
(Photos courtesy of Buick)