GM names Buick-GMC leader, previews Acadia Denali

December 18, 2009

GM names Buick-GMC leader, previews Acadia Denali

BY TIM HIGGINS
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

General Motors Co. on Thursday named a new Buick-GMC brand leader, announced pricing for a four-cylinder Buick LaCrosse sedan and previewed its 2011 GMC Acadia Denali crossover in advance of the Detroit auto show, where it will debut.

The flurry of activity comes as GM prepares for the North America International Auto Show, which opens to the news media on Jan. 11.

Susan Docherty, GM vice president of sales and marketing, named Brian Sweeney the new general manager of Buick-GMC, replacing Michael Richards, who quit after just nine days following a management shakeup at GM.

Sweeney, who had been the general sales manager of Buick-GMC, has worked in various sales and marketing jobs at GM since 1990.

"This job … is going to be a great challenge," Sweeney, 42, said.

His goals, he said, are to deliver year-over-year sales increases and have strong relationships with dealers. Sweeney also said GM is working to transfer owners of discontinued Pontiacs into Buick and GMC vehicles.

Meanwhile, GMC is extending its upscale Denali line to its Acadia crossover model, which first launched in 2007. The Denali will go on sale in the third quarter of next year and cost $4,500 to $5,000 more than a typical Acadia, according to people familiar with the plans.

The LaCrosse, which launched this year, will get a more fuel-efficient engine in February that should get 30 m.p.g. in highway driving. GM said the LaCrosse CX with a direct-injection Ecotec 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine will be priced at $26,995.

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