DETROIT -- General Motors appointed Buick-GMC sales chief Brian Sweeney to Chevrolet's top U.S. post, part of an effort by GM's biggest brand to boost its sliding market share.
GM appoints Sweeney to top Chevy sales post in U.S.
Vauxhall chief Aldred to head Buick-GMC
Sweeney has been head of sales for Buick-GMC since March 2010. He's generally well-liked by dealers, who credit him with boosting Buick's lease business and raising customer-service standards, including the implementation of a courtesy transportation program for service customers.
Mike Bowsher, who owns four Chevy and Buick-GMC stores in the U.S. Southeast and was chairman of Buick-GMC's National Dealer Council until January, says Sweeney seeks input from dealers on big initiatives.
"He knows how to set a goal and make sure that everyone understands how to execute it," Bowsher says. "And he's always on. You can call him at 5:30 in the morning or 9:30 at night. He's going after the business all the time."
Sam Slaughter, dealer principal of Sellers Buick-GMC in suburban Detroit, credits Sweeney for setting a vision for Buick and GMC after GM's 2009 bankruptcy, when the fate of both brands was uncertain.
"He's a car guy," Slaughter said. "He understands product and how you sell it and what happens in the showroom."
Chevrolet's U.S. sales have declined two consecutive months, with volume off 8 percent in December and 13 percent last month.
Still, GM executives believe the brand has strong momentum in the market, and point to the Corvette and Silverado winning North American Car and Truck of the Year awards at the 2014 Detroit auto show in January. It was the first time GM had swept the awards since 2007.
Overall, U.S. sales of Chevrolet rose 5 percent to 1.95 million last year while Buick deliveries increased 14 percent to 205,509, and GMC gained 9 percent to 450,901.
Sweeney joined GM in 1990 and has worked in sales and service jobs at Pontiac and Saab.
Aldred also joined GM in 1990, at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant. He worked in various sales and marketing positions at Vauxhall before being named managing director in 2010. He added the chairman title in 2011 and last year was also named acting vice president of sales, marketing and aftersales for Opel/Vauxhall.
Sean Gagnier contributed to this report.
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