SHANGHAI -- In the year since he took over the Buick and GMC brands in the U.S., Duncan Aldred has made a lot of fans among dealers.
He's earned a reputation as a sales and marketing exec willing to try new things, such as a 16 percent cash-back offer tied to the 'Sweet Sixteen' during the NCAA men's basketball tournament last month.
He also successfully pushed for a 50 percent increase in supply of the hot Buick Encore crossover. And he greenlighted what is likely GMC's largest-ever advertising campaign.
All are reasons why his latest promotion could cause some consternation among dealers: GM has stuck a 'global' tag in front of his title, giving Aldred oversight of the Buick brand globally.
Mostly, that means China, where Buick is looking to top 1 million sales this year, quadruple the brand's U.S. sales.
In the past, I've heard dealers say that as soon as a U.S. exec is in charge of global anything, it distracts from the task at hand. In Aldred’s case, that’s to continue Buick’s U.S. comeback while driving GMC to the next level.
Aldred dismisses that idea. He says his global duties will give him a bigger say in how Buick’s vehicle portfolio develops. But the promotion doesn’t mean he’s in charge of the business in China, where the folks running the sales channel at Shanghai-GM don’t appear to need much help: Buick’s 918,531 vehicle sales last year ranked No. 4 in the country.