While Cadillac’s focus on EVs alienated some longtime dealers, especially in rural areas, interest in the brand by others speaks to their perception of a growing appetite for electric vehicles.
“Dealers are finally seeing the consumer response that electric vehicles [are] becoming more of a request by consumers,” said Dave Cantin, CEO of buy-sell firm Dave Cantin Group.
Decisions to invest in Cadillac are likely based on other factors as well, said Mark Johnson, president of buy-sell firm MD Johnson Inc. Dealers might act on an acquisition opportunity to gain scale or be eager to invest in a new store because the past year has been highly profitable. “Dealers are entrepreneurs, and they’re risk takers,” he said. “For the majority of them, the risk has really worked out.”
For dealer Jimmy Ellis, conversations about a Cadillac point began before an EV-only lineup was on the horizon. One of his stores had Chevy, Buick and GMC, and he wanted to complete the GM portfolio. The transaction was delayed for a variety of reasons, but Jim Ellis Cadillac of Atlanta finally opened last month.
“The timing worked out really well for me because I can see the renaissance of the brand and the direction that they’re going,” said Ellis, president of Jim Ellis Automotive Group in Atlanta.