But Cadillac's dominance ended two decades ago, and in two weeks, downtown Louisville will be without a Cadillac dealership for the first time in more than a century. The Browns are among the more than 175 Cadillac dealers who have decided to take a buyout instead of going along for the ride toward an all-electric future.
Most dealers who accepted buyouts, which in some cases are more than $500,000, have until the end of the year to give up their franchise. Brown Bros. isn't waiting around. It sold its new inventory to a nearby store and set a closing date of Feb. 15.
"Once I made up my mind that that's what we were going to do, it just made sense to conclude it as quickly as good judgment dictated," said Brown, 68, who declined to discuss the terms of his buyout because General Motors required takers to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
Meanwhile, on the West Coast, Inder Dosanjh, dealer principal at Dosanjh Family Auto Group, is committing big money toward GM's EV future. Dosanjh's group in the San Francisco Bay area has one Cadillac store with the necessary upgrades already in progress. It's on the same campus as a Chevrolet store, and Dosanjh is the top-selling Chevy Bolt EV dealer in the U.S. His other three Cadillac stores will go through assessments, and he expects the upgrades to cost $150,000 to $200,000 at each.
"It's a positive change," Dosanjh said. "We've got to go there, so we might as well go there — really lead everybody into it."