GM to move Cadillac HQ to NYC
From Crain News Service staff and wire reports
DETROIT (Sept. 24, 2014) — General Motors Co. confirmed on Sept. 23 plans to move its Cadillac brand headquarters to New York City next year in a move to remake the luxury marque's image and broaden its appeal outside North America.
The move has been expected in recent weeks and new Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen signaled it to Automotive News in a story published Sept. 22.
Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said the brand expects the office — including display and event space in the trendy Soho neighborhood of Manhattan — to open around the second quarter of 2015.
GM, in the Sept. 23 statement, said the move will establish the brand as a separate business unit.
“We need to have the team thinking about Cadillac day in and day out,” CEO Mary Barra said in an interview at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York.
“New York is where luxury is defined. It's trend-setting. It's much broader than the auto industry in terms of setting trends in luxury.”
Mr. De Nysschen, who took over the brand in August, told Automotive News that the move is important for marketing.
“There are a great number of benefits to putting at least some of our marketing people in a world where they can be in regular contact with not only premium customers, but be more immersed in the lifestyle of people who shop for premium brands,” he said.
Mr. Caldwell said the move would only affect sales and marketing, while product development, design, engineering and research and development staff would remain in place, mostly in the Detroit area.
Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president of global product development, said that about 50 employees would be located in Soho.
“I think there's a piece of that brand that needs to be elevated and very carefully cultivated by the right group of people,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Detroit. “We need to get some fresh thinking into that brand so that brand is ready to support the products.”
“The brand perception of those products [Cadillac] and what people buy into has probably lagged.”
Mr. Reuss said the Soho marketing office will “create a new trajectory for the brand.”
“If you keep doing the same old thing, you'll probably get the same old results. We took that approach on the products and now we're going to take it on the brand. This will be great news for Michigan. We still design, we still manufacture, we still engineer all of our products right here [in Michigan].”
“The cars speak for themselves, but you've got to get people interested in finding out what that car is.”
Mr. De Nysschen, in his previous role as head of Nissan Motor Co.'s Infiniti brand, relocated that unit from Yokohama, Japan, to Hong Kong, in part to give the Infiniti team more autonomy from the Japanese parent and the opportunity to explore new ways to expand in global markets.
GM has been on a similar quest to expand the 112-year-old Cadillac unit, one of the world's oldest surviving brands, beyond its home base, while resurrecting Cadillac's earlier status as one of the world's top luxury vehicles. Mr. De Nysschen is Cadillac's third leader in two years.
On Sept. 22, GM named longtime executive Jim Bunnell, 59, as Cadillac's new U.S. sales boss—a move applauded by Cadillac's national dealer council chairman, Howard Drake.
Cadillac said last Friday it would begin production of a new high-end car by the end of 2015, positioned above today's CTS and XTS cars.
Reuters, Bloomberg News, Hannah Lutz, and Automotive News staff reporters contributed to this report, which appeared on autonews.com, the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.
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