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The big change to how you buy and service cars in the all-electric future

Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

LANSING, Mich. — Ralph Shaheen is ready to sell General Motors' electric vehicles at his dealerships in Lansing. But he knows it is going to change everything.

"Your only worry is the unknown," said Shaheen, admitting that the unknown is a pretty big concern.

Shaheen, who is president of Shaheen Cadillac of Lansing and Shaheen Chevrolet of Lansing, invested millions to build a new Cadillac showroom last year. He will now spend what's needed to train his staff and tweak his facilities to sell and service electric cars. He believes the change to his business will happen gradually.

Ralph Shaheen is ready to sell General Motors' electric vehicles at his dealerships in Lansing. But he knows it is going to change everything.

"Your only worry is the unknown," said Shaheen, admitting that the unknown is a pretty big concern.

Shaheen, who is president of Shaheen Cadillac of Lansing and Shaheen Chevrolet of Lansing, invested millions to build a new Cadillac showroom last year. He will now spend what's needed to train his staff and tweak his facilities to sell and service electric cars. He believes the change to his business will happen gradually.

 

"It’ll unfold as we go along. The GMC dealers are getting the Hummer ... the first one they get, they have to keep for six months so that people have something to test drive," said Shaheen, referring to the Hummer EV pickup that goes on sale late this year.

"I think the dealers will still be here," Shaheen said, speculating on the distant future. "The consumer has to be educated and that’s part of our job."

But the dealership of the future will look and function differently, industry experts say. For one thing, as automakers roll out electric cars, they increasingly will compete with the Tesla brand's practice of selling online directly to the consumer.

On the service side, EVs require lower maintenance compared with internal combustion engine cars, so EVs could ding a dealer's service and parts revenue.

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