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Ford Canada president tapped for key U.S. sales post

A Ford flag flies outside the Oakville Assembly Plant.

CHRIS HELGREN/REUTERS

Dianne Craig, president of Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd., has been appointed to the key post of director of U.S. sales for parent Ford Motor Co.

Ms. Craig, who has headed the Canadian unit of the Dearborn, Mich.-based auto maker since 2012, will be replaced by Mark Buzzell, general manager of Ford's western U.S. market area, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

During Ms. Craig's tenure, Ford Canada led the sales rankings every year except 2015. Ford Canada has jumped back into the top spot in 2016 with a 9-per-cent sales gain through the first 10 months of the year.

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Sales of Ford and Lincoln vehicles hit 260,246 through October, compared with 238,145 a year earlier.

Attaining sales records and regaining leadership are highlights of the five years, Ms. Craig said in an interview Thursday, but she added that she's more proud that customer-satisfaction scores for sales and service and employee-satisfaction levels are at record levels.

"Our dealer-satisfaction levels are at an all-time high," she added. "That is the most important thing to driving the business."

The main challenge for Ford Canada, she said, is to make sure that the success of recent years does not lead to complacency.

She takes over the key U.S. sales job as the market in that country hits a plateau, although few analysts are expecting a significant downturn before the end of the decade.

"Dianne Craig's outstanding contributions at Ford of Canada make her the right person to help build future sales success in the U.S.," Joe Hinrichs, president of the Americas for Ford and a former president of Ford Canada, said in a statement.

The U.S. sales director job is an important one, Ms. Craig said

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Ford needs to keep customers front and centre, she said.

"I think we've got to be open minded to the emerging trends we're seeing in the industry and just be cognizant of how people shop and be there to meet them on their terms."

Mr. Buzzell joined Ford in 1989 and has worked for the auto maker in marketing, sales and service positions in the United States, Central America and the Caribbean.

She said her advice to him is to understand that the Canadian and U.S. markets are different.

"There are some distinct differences," she said, "some are subtle, some are not, but it's a different market, it's a different country and you need to respect and value the differences. That will be my first bit of advice for him."

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About the Author
Auto and Steel Industry Reporter

Greg Keenan has covered the automotive and steel industries for The Globe and Mail since 1995. He also writes about broader manufacturing trends. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and of the University of Western Ontario School of Journalism. More

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