Ford/Buick Asking Dealers to Invest to Become EV Certified

Friday, September 16, 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

[from Automotive News] Ford's U.S. dealers must invest as much as $1.2 million and adhere to rigorous sales standards if they want to sell electric vehicles beyond 2023 as the brand tweaks its retail model to better compete with direct-sales startups.

Dealers have until Oct. 31 to opt into one of two EV certification tiers that cover varying investment levels in fast chargers and staff training. Those who choose not to invest will be limited to selling internal-combustion vehicles and hybrids from the Ford brand.

EV dealers must sell the products at nonnegotiable prices, and those who choose the lower-priced certification tier won't be allowed to carry them in inventory, instead having customers order exactly what they want for later delivery.

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Buick will offer to buy out any of its U.S. dealers who do not want to make the investments necessary as the brand transitions to an all-electric lineup by the end of this decade.

A spokeswoman for the brand confirmed the plan to offer buyouts, which Duncan Aldred, vice president of global Buick and GMC, is outlining to dealers during a virtual meeting Friday. The Wall Street Journal first reported the buyout plan Friday, citing an interview with Aldred.

Buick had 1,963 U.S. dealerships at the start of 2022, according to Automotive News' Dealer Census. Only 13 of those were standalone stores — the majority have dual showrooms with GMC — so virtually all dealers who take a buyout likely would continue with other General Motors brands.

"Not everyone necessarily wants to make that journey, depending on where they're located or the level of expenditure that the transition will demand," Aldred told the Journal. "So if they want to exit the Buick franchise, then we will give them monetary assistance to do so."

Buick does not plan to introduce any new internal combustion vehicles after 2024, when its first full-electric vehicle is scheduled to arrive. The brand is reviving the Electra name for the planned EV lineup in combination with an alphanumeric code to distinguish the various models.

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