DETROIT — The push for an all-electric future will come with a cost for General Motors Co. dealers.
For Cadillac dealers the price tag is estimated to be $200,000 to transition dealerships for coming electric vehicles beginning with the Lyriq crossover, the brand’s first all-electric vehicle hitting U.S. dealerships in late 2022 after debuting first in the China market. GM’s luxury brand informed its more than 880 dealerships of the required investment on Wednesday.
Cadillac is GM’s leading electric brand that’s shooting to sell more electric vehicles than gas-powered by the end of the decade. GM is investing $20 billion through 2025 on electric and autonomous technologies and pushing to release 20 electric nameplates across multiple brands by 2023.
“There’s an investment that’s being made by General Motors in terms of bringing these EVs to the market,” said Rory Harvey, vice president, Cadillac sales, service and marketing, in an interview. “And there’s also an investment that is required by our dealer network to ensure that they can meet customer expectations and have the right facilities and infrastructure in place.”
The Cadillac Lyriq will hit U.S. dealerships in late 2022.
Cadillac consulted with the brand’s dealer council before instituting the requirement. Dealers will have to start preparing for the electric future by the second quarter of next year. The cost comes from the tooling and training necessary to sell electric vehicles, including the installation of charging stations.
David Butler, chairman of the dealer council and executive manager for Suburban Cadillac, which has three Cadillac dealerships in Michigan and one in California, said the investment might be a lot for a small dealer who makes few sales in a year. But there are investments, like redoing showrooms, that are “substantially more” than $200,000.
“I have no problem investing in the brand as long as we’re going to bring buy-in behind it,” he said. “Generally $200,000 is not a number that scares most dealers, but at some point you have to start making financial decisions about whether or not this additional investment is going to be worth it for you.”
While there are “core elements” required to serve future Cadillac customers, the changes can vary by dealership, Harvey said, noting that a smaller dealership might only need one charging station. Every dealer will be contacted by a field person at GM about the transition.
Inder Dosanjh, a Cadillac dealer with four dealerships in the San Francisco Bay Area, is already making some of the investment necessary to sell electric Cadillacs by installing multiple charging stations at his dealerships in an area of the United States that’s more behind the switch to electric than the rest of the country.
“It’s a game changer for us,” he said. “The current product is very hot. Electrification just really fits in our profile.”
Cadillac virtually unveiled its Lyriq in early August with more than 10 million customers watching. GM’s next electric vehicle to be unveiled is the GMC Hummer EV on Oct. 20. GMC dealers have the option to opt in to sell the Hummer EV and so far about half of the 1,700 dealers have signed up.
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