In April, Cadillac announced plans for an all-electric lineup. The luxury brand plans to stop selling ICE vehicles by 2030. Last year, many dealers bailed on the Michigan-based company when it started requiring dealers to invest in an EV future. But as some left, Cadillac gained new dealership groups that have plans to return the brand to key markets it's missing from.
According to an Automotive News report, 150 Cadillac dealers accepted buyouts last year from Cadillac that totaled anywhere from $300,000 to more than $500,000. The dealers that stayed with Cadillac are required to invest an average of $200,000 on charging stations, new tooling, and EV training.
Fortunately for Cadillac, certain dealers don’t have issues with the brand’s all-electric future and plan to sell the company’s products. The report states that eight dealership groups have made deals to open Cadillac stores this year. “Recent deals include acquisitions by Frank Kent Motor Co. and Ken Garff Automotive Group in Texas and by Ciocca Dealerships in Atlantic City, N.J.”
One notable market Cadillac is returning to is Beverly Hills, CA. The affluent city is located near downtown Los Angeles, but more importantly, it hasn’t had a Cadillac dealership in 35 years. Bruce Axelson of Canada-based Capital Automotive Group won the rights to open Cadillac of Beverly Hills and Cadillac of South San Francisco.
Mahmoud Samara, vice president of Cadillac North America, told Automotive News that the company is working to open a dealership in Manhattan. Cadillac’s only dealership in that crucial market closed last year.
San Jose is another key market due to the popularity of EVs in the area and many luxury brands have high-volume dealerships there. The Dosanjh Family Auto Group will open a Cadillac dealership near one of its Chevrolet stores, which happens to be the largest Bolt EV dealer in the nation.
Frank Kent Motor Co. took a buyout to close a Cadillac dealership in Corsicana, TX. The dealer is now opening a $20 million Cadillac dealership in Arlington, TX, and currently has a Cadillac location in Fort Worth.
Will Churchill, one of the group’s owners says there is a lot of excitement around the Cadillac Lyriq, the brand's all-new electric SUV. He said:
"Of all the vehicles that we've launched, outside of the Escalade, this one seems to be getting the most positive reception earlier on," he said. "So it's exciting to see how that's going to correlate to sales."
It’s not a surprise that Cadillac lost so many dealers. EVs sales in much of the U.S. are still very low and likely won’t rise much in the near future, especially in rural parts of the country and in areas where EVs have yet to gain much of a foothold. But on the other end of the spectrum, there are dealer groups who have hopped on the EV bandwagon and are willing to take a chance on a long-running luxury brand with recent and huge EV commitments.