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Almost one fifth of Cadillac dealerships bail on brand’s electric future

General Motors is betting big on battery-electric vehicles, and its Cadillac brand has been tasked with spearheading their rollout.

The automaker has already revealed the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq crossover due in early 2022 and confirmed four additional EVs for the luxury brand, including a flagship sedan dubbed the Celestiq. Cadillac could even become a full-EV brand by 2030 depending how the market evolves.

Naturally, GM wants Cadillac dealerships to get on board—which means they’ll need to spend big to upgrade their facilities with charging, tooling and training for EVs. We’re talking around $200,000 on average.

For those dealers not keen on the transformation, GM last fall offered cash incentives to close up shop. Automotive News (subscription required) reported on Monday that approximately 150 dealers accepted the cash offers which ranged from $300,000 to more than $500,000. The number equates to about 17% of Cadillac’s 880 dealerships in the U.S.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

It’s not the first time GM has tried to reduce its number of Cadillac dealerships, which triples the number from rivals such as the German luxury brands. Back in 2016, the automaker offered a similar payment to some of the smaller operations if they closed.

One issue with the EV transformation could be a loss in revenue for dealerships. EVs typically require less maintenance than their internal-combustion counterparts, and they could become even more reliable down the road as the technology improves. This is because EVs tend to have fewer moving parts, and of course there are no more oil changes and engine tuneups. This will be something dealerships will need to prepare for when it comes to EVs, in addition to upgrading their facilities and training their staff.

While GM has lost many of its Cadillac dealerships, particularly in rural areas, it’s gaining new ones in areas where the brand doesn’t have a strong presence, such as Silicon Valley, or in areas ceded to rival brands, such as Beverly Hills and Manhattan. Some successful Cadillac dealership networks are also purchasing some of the rival stores that are closing.

The Cadillac Lyriq is priced to start from $59,990, including destination, and reservations open on September 18. It will initially be offered exclusively with a 340-hp motor mounted at the rear and a 100-kilowatt-hour battery good for about 300 miles. A dual-motor all-wheel-drive option will be added in late 2022. With high-speed charging owners should be able to add 76 miles of range in 10 minutes (at 190 kilowatts) and charge up to 80% of the battery in 30 minutes (at 150 kw).

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