Following earlier speculation, GM has confirmed that it is moving Cadillac's base of operations from Detroit to New York. Lest you think it might rent offices in the Chrysler Building (which is, after all, one of the tallest in the city), the new Cadillac global headquarters will be located in the Soho area with a "multipurpose brand and event space in conjunction with modern loft offices." The company is still evaluating which staff will move along with it to Manhattan, and which will remain in Michigan where technical operations will still be based.
The move from Detroit to New York is the first major change being instituted by new Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen, who previously undertook a similar shift in moving Infiniti away from Nissan headquarters to its own facility in Hong Kong. Ford had attempted a similar move in relocating its luxury portfolio under the Premier Automotive Group (which then included Lincoln, Mercury, Land Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Volvo) from Dearborn to Irvine, CA, but ended up moving Lincoln (the last one still under the Ford umbrella) back to Michigan. Other luxury automakers like Audi (Volkswagen) and Maserati (Fiat) are headquartered away from their parent companies as well, but have a longer history of independent operation.
As big a development as the geographic relocation is for Cadillac and GM, however, it's not the sum total of the changes announced today. Cadillac is also spinning off from GM as a "separate business unit." Although it will still very much remain part of the GM portfolio, it is being elevated (or at least separated) from its existing status as a GM brand – which will inevitably mean more autonomy but also more responsibility for its own operations.
NEW YORK – As part of the continued expansion of Cadillac, General Motors today announced a strategic realignment that will establish the flagship brand as a separate business unit. In addition, the new Cadillac organization will expand to New York with a new global headquarters opening in 2015.
The realignment affirms Cadillac's importance to GM's strategy. Creating a new Cadillac business unit enables it to pursue growing opportunities in the luxury automotive market with more focus and clarity.
"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.
"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," Ammann said. More than a division or brand, Cadillac is becoming a center of excellence for our company."
Johan de Nysschen, who joined Cadillac as its new president in August, will be responsible for the brand's overall operational performance.
Cadillac's leadership council is headed by de Nysschen, and consists of Jim Bunnell, vice president of sales and service; Uwe Ellinghaus, chief marketing officer; David Colasinski, chief financial officer; David Leone, executive chief engineer, and Andrew Smith, executive director of design. Further expansion of the Cadillac leadership team will be announced later.
Expansion Includes New York Headquarters
The plan includes expansion to New York City in the form of a multipurpose brand and event space in conjunction with modern loft offices located in the heart of a city renowned for establishing trends and setting standards for the global luxury market.
While the majority of functions with oversight and responsibility for both global and U.S. operations will be located at the new global headquarters, there will be no change to technical product development teams located in Michigan, nor does the plan impact manufacturing or assembly operations. Cadillac management is reviewing options for which specific staffs will be based in New York and which will remain in current locations in the Detroit-area or elsewhere.
Cadillac has operations in more than 40 countries. The brand's ongoing growth has been driven by an expanded product portfolio, leading to 28 percent global growth in 2013 and an increase of about 10 percent so far this year. Cadillac sales in China have grown 75 percent year to date.
"We are very proud of our Detroit roots and heritage, and the majority of the Cadillac workforce will remain in Michigan," de Nysschen said. "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."
Company officials thanked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his active support of and involvement in establishing the creation of Cadillac NYC.
"To have an iconic American brand like Cadillac choose Manhattan for its global headquarters is another example that this city is a growing hub of innovation," said U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer. "New York continues to be a magnet for the best and the brightest companies and workers alike, and as Cadillac continues on its impressive growth trajectory as a global brand, I'm thrilled it will do so based in New York City."
Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. Today Cadillac is growing globally, driven by an expanding product portfolio featuring distinctive design and technology. More information on Cadillac appears at www.cadillac.com. Cadillac's media website with information, images and video can be found at media.cadillac.com.