By Andrew Ganz
Finding a Cadillac showroom has gotten a lot more difficult over the last few years.
The flagship luxury division of General Motors /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM -3.78% says it currently has 560 franchised dealership showrooms in the U.S., down from 920 in 2018 and around 730 at the tail end of 2020. The big drop-off is intentional, Cadillac has said. The automaker asked dealers to invest heavily in electric car infrastructure as it gears up to move away from gasoline engines, and many decided to bail.
The first fully electric Cadillac, the Lyriq SUV, is set to go on sale next summer.
Still, Cadillac has more dealerships than its traditional rivals from Europe, Asia, and Detroit. For decades, Cadillac showrooms were often integrated with other GM products. That relative ubiquity helped cement the brand in smaller markets where a Mercedes-Benz or Lexus showroom, for instance, would be tough to justify. However, many of the dealers that have closed up shop over the last few years are in small towns where dealers sold only a few Cadillacs annually.
Additionally, it is hard to compare Cadillac’s footprint to upstart Tesla /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA -1.82% and others, which have worked around numerous state laws by operating their own sales outlets rather than relying on the long-established franchise model. Even newer luxury EV brands, including Rivian /zigman2/quotes/230726939/composite RIVN -8.49% and Lucid /zigman2/quotes/221104327/composite LCID -7.13% , largely rely on online sales for their cars since they only have a few showrooms.
Cadillac has dabbled in corporate-owned showrooms, most recently the now-closed Cadillac House in New York. That facility allowed consumers to see products in a no-pressure environment, but they had to buy one through a franchised dealer.