June 18, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Cadillac's U.S. sales chief resigns

General Motors Co.’s Cadillac brand, whose sales are down year-to-date over last year, lost a top executive as its U.S. sales chief resigned Tuesday.

Bill Peffer, U.S. vice president for Cadillac sales and service, elected to leave the position, Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said in an email.

Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations, will assume the U.S. sales role for Cadillac — at least temporarily, Caldwell said. McNeil held the Cadillac post in 2011 and 2012.

The luxury brand posted U.S. sales gains of nearly 22 percent last year, but sales through May for Cadillac are down 2.3 percent year-over-year. Two of the company’s newer models, the ATS compact sedan and XTS large sedan have had sales fall by more than 20 percent through May this year compared to the same time in 2013.

GM leaders had hoped Cadillac would grow by double digits this year in the U.S. Peter Nagle, a North American sales forecast analyst for IHS, earlier this year told The Detroit News that IHS predicts Cadillac’s U.S. sales would grow by about 5 percent in 2014.

The brand’s top leader, Bob Ferguson, vice president of global Cadillac, also is handling lobbying duties for GM during its ignition switch recall crisis.

Last fall, GM announced it had hired Peffer for the top Cadillac sales position in the U.S. He joined Cadillac from Nissan where he had served as CEO of the Japanese company in Australia. Peffer was hired to replace Chase Hawkins, who held the position about a year before GM fired him for “violating a company policy.”

Cadillac is rolling out a newly designed Escalade SUV this year and will launch the new 2015 ATS Coupe this summer.

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