General Motors product chief Mark Reuss elaborated Tuesday on Cadillac's move to New York in 2015, saying it will "elevate" the brand and allow it to reach new customers.
"We're going to take it to a place [New York] to change the way that we do business around the brand of Cadillac." – Mark Reuss
"We're going to take it to a place [New York] to change the way that we do business around the brand of Cadillac," Reuss said at an event in Detroit.
About 50 people will set up shop in the trendy neighborhood of Soho, GM confirmed Tuesday. According to Reuss, the roles have not been specified, but it's expected to include sales and marketing staff. A headquarters in the NYC cosmopolitan setting could allow Cadillac to better understand consumers on the coasts, where the brand struggles against Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus and others, Reuss added.
"We're not on the radar of some of the people we'd like to be on," he said.
The move to New York represents a complete reset for Cadillac, and it will be cast as a standalone business unit. Reuss said Cadillac's president, Johan de Nysschen, and chief marketing officer, Uwe Ellinghaus, will re-examine the brand's sales and marketing strategy. Cadillac also named a new vice president of US sales, Jim Bunnell, on Monday.
Despite well-received products, Cadillac sales have struggled this year, dropping 4.7 percent to 114,008 units through August.
"We have to have some new thinking in how we go to market," Reuss said. "The brand perception of what these products align to has been lagging."
The move to New York comes as Cadillac prepares to launch as a new flagship sedan to compete with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and other large luxury cars. Reuss declined to reveal the name of the new Cadillac on Tuesday.
Ironically, the news of Cadillac's move to New York – and away from Detroit – came on the same day as a conference that discussed Michigan's impact on the auto industry. Reuss, a native of Michigan, said he "really supports" the move, noting Cadillac's engineering and design staff will still be based in his home state, where four Cadillac models are also assembled.