General Motors announced a "strategic realignment" of Cadillac this morning that turns the luxury brand into a separate business unit operating within the company, and one of the changes involves moving Cadillac's headquarters from Michigan — the place it had called home since 1902 — to New York City. GM and most of its other brands will remain headquartered in Detroit.
A luxury city for a luxury brand
It might seem a little odd to abandon a place that's literally called "Motor City" after a century, but GM says that it wants to drop Cadillac into a place that's "renowned for establishing trends and setting standards for the global luxury market." That's a bit of a burn on Detroit, but it's also true. (What's more, the new Cadillac facility will be in SoHo, one of the epicenters of New York's upper crust.) The move appears to be precipitated by newly minted Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen, who arrived from Infiniti over the summer and has aspirations to take Cadillac to new markets, both domestically and internationally. Going head-to-head with Mercedes and BMW isn't easy, and maybe getting a little distance from the mothership will help put Cadillac in a better headspace for competition — or so the logic goes.
de Nysschen tried to soften the blow for Detroiters in GM's press release, but still delivered some blunt real talk. "We are very proud of our Detroit roots and heritage, and the majority of the Cadillac workforce will remain in Michigan. But there is no city in the world where the inhabitants are more immersed in a premium lifestyle than in New York."
The new office opens in 2015.