Cadillac is packing it up and hitting the bricks.
In what is being called a new “strategic alignment,” General Motors is uprooting its luxury vehicle line and moving its headquarters to New York City. Not only that, but Cadillac will now operate as a separate business unit, apart from the company’s other three big American-based brands. The move comes as Cadillac looks to regain a foothold in the luxury market as one of the world’s elite automakers, as the brand has eroded a bit in the eyes of consumers over the years. A slew of GM recalls hasn’t helped inspire consumer confidence, either.
By moving to New York, Cadillac will now have a presence in the same place that other world auto powers retain their offices, including Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW.
“With the relentless upward repositioning of successive new-generation Cadillac products, the next logical step is to provide Cadillac more freedom to cultivate the brand in pursuit of further global growth,” said GM President Dan Ammann in a press release. “Cadillac’s mission is to reinstate the brand to a pre-eminent position among global luxury brands, a bold challenge requiring a distinct and focused new organization. More than a division or brand, Cadillac is becoming a center of excellence for our company.”
The new face behind the reins will be Johan de Nysschen, whom Cadillac hired to repair the brand’s image. De Nysschen previously spent time at Audi and Infiniti, giving him plenty of credibility in the luxury car market. He also administered similar separation strategies during his time at other companies. He will oversee the movement of Cadillac’s new global headquarters to New York early next year.
“We are very proud of our Detroit roots and heritage, and the majority of the Cadillac workforce will remain in Michigan,” said de Nysschen. “But there is no city in the world where the inhabitants are more immersed in a premium lifestyle than in New York. Establishing our new global headquarters in Soho places Cadillac at the epicenter of sophisticated living. It allows our team to share experiences with premium-brand consumers and develop attitudes in common with our audience.”
GM and Cadillac brass aren’t the only ones looking forward to the upcoming move. New York City officials and state officials, namely Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are ready to embrace the company with open arms, it seems.
“From Day One, our administration has been creating a more business-friendly environment that encourages new investments and job creation, and today is another example of how that approach is delivering results for New Yorkers. I welcome Cadillac’s marketing team to New York and commend them on their decision to invest personnel and resources alongside our world-class workforce,” Cuomo said. “As the media and advertising capital of the world, New York is the ideal location for Cadillac to move its marketing operations to enhance their brand and spur future growth.”
The move does seem to make a lot of sense, and it puts Cadillac in an ideal location to rebuild itself. But is the move evidence that the General Motors name has a certain level of toxicity associated with it, and the brass want to spare Cadillac from the fallout? It’s a possibility, but it’s unlikely that any concrete answers regarding that will emerge.
New York City is an epicenter in the world of commerce, in many respects. It’s home to major media outlets, marketing firms, and many of the world’s rich and powerful. If Cadillac truly wants to reclaim the throne in the luxury car market, New York is where the company and its executives need to be.
The move is a good one for Cadillac. Next on the list? Reclaiming market share and ramping up sales. For de Nysschen, it’s time to execute.