When it comes to electric-versus-internal-combustion-engine vehicles, Michael Carmichael likes to keep a foot in “both ponds.”
Many automakers “are wrestling with the all-in or all-out” on electrification, said the president of Stratford, Ont.-based UpAuto.
But Carmichael, whose dealership group owns five new-car stores in small Ontario cities and towns, is trying a find a middle ground. The company’s latest acquisition of Easthill Volkswagen in Walkerton, about 200 kilometres northwest of Toronto, in January is part of this strategy.
With the Germany-based automaker, Carmichael sees a like-minded approach to his.
“VW’s built a very dynamic, exciting line of EVs,” he said. “They’re very affordable, … and I believe they’ve got mass-market appeal. All the while, they’re still going to have gas cars.”
As each automaker refines how it will make the transition to EVs, their electrification strategies give UpAuto and other Canadian dealership groups yet another factor to consider when weighing acquisition opportunities.
THE ROI OF EVS
“Dealers buying today, when they look at a particular brand, … they already are aware of that brand’s strategy for electric vehicles, and they take that into consideration for the future,” said Peter Heasty, president of Toronto-based Baker Tilly WM Dealer Acquisitions Inc.
By Heasty’s accounting, electrification has had a relatively limited impact on the buy-sell market to date. But that doesn’t mean dealers aren’t doing the math.
Upfront costs are one important part of the arithmetic.