By on August 22, 2014

2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport

As part of brand boss Johan de Nysschen’s overall plan to boost its image outside of the United States, Cadillac is considering moving some of its functions to New York City.

Reuters reports the move to Manhattan would affect marketing, advertising and strategy, putting physical and cultural distance between the three and the rest of the brand’s operations in Detroit. The move would also bring new talent that Cadillac may not have obtained if everything remained within the Motor City.

This would not be the first time such a move occurred under de Nysschen’s watch. As head of Infiniti, he moved the brand’s team to Hong Kong in an effort to gain outside input and autonomy beyond parent company Nissan’s influence.

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63 Comments on “Cadillac Considers Shifting Some Operations To NYC...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    BTS,
    Time to update the old resume!

  • avatar
    danio3834

    It would be a dumb and expensive move in my opinion. I agree that Cadillac as a brand needs more autonomy, but increasing costs by moving to an expensive location is needless.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      This x 10^6. It’s incredibly difficult to develop and retain talent in NYC because of the expenses. That’s a long-term problem. The short term problem is that it’s incredibly expensive to do business in NYC.

      I guess we can open the debate about whether or not Cadillac employees would drive or fly to Detroit and vice versa…

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Exactly. Automaker-level salaries can go a long way in Metro Detroit. In Manhattan, not so much.

        • 0 avatar
          bomberpete

          Why do you assume that all the talent would actually live (or even work) in Manhattan? To me, the best possible place they could pick would be the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Not only is there space to park and drive the vehicles, it’s next to the busiest movie/TV studio in the country. Branding galore!

          For decades, the marketing industry in NYC has done great work for cars. We’re Americans like the rest of you. Not everyone here hates four-wheeled conveyances. Cars are aspirational to city kids too.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Marketing and advertising makes sense to me. Cadillac currently seems to have better product than reputation. And, at least as long as the current reverse Robin Hooding policies remain en vogue, the kind of people Caddy need to reach, are the kind that speak with a New York accent.

            Strategy scares me. Stuck in traffic car hating liberals with 7 figure paychecks and no clue, seem like an unfortunate bunch to rely on for strategic advice for a car maker.

          • 0 avatar
            Freddie

            It would be more meaningful if they actually set up an assembly line. “Imported from Brooklyn”.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I’m not doubting there would be some advantages, but the costs of operating even in one of the less dense boroughs of NYC would still be significantly more than in Detroit. It doesn’t seem that the advantages would outweigh the costs.

            Toyota is making significant moves to relocate some operations from California to Texas for those reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            ….Stuck in traffic car hating liberals with 7 figure paychecks and no clue…

            Talk about not having a clue…

          • 0 avatar

            Caddy is a non player in the NYC luxury arena. Moving here might help them understand why they haven’t cracked this market.

            The product is there. The aspiration isn’t. That is a fashion problem, not an engineering problem.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        I know. No one goes to NYC anymore, it’s too crowded.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    California would have made a lot more sense. That’s aspirational. NYC is like a North Dakota pop-up fracking town. Expensive to live in because there is a lot of money to be made, but a miserable sh_thole all the same. And nobody drives. And Cadillac already does well there because of the livery market, something Caddy should be moving away from, at least in terms of focus, if it actually wants to be a prestige brand.
    California is home to a successful new American luxury car company that doesn’t just copy the German model. Maybe some of that could rub off on Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Eh, Lincoln tried that back in the Nasser days and it didn’t really do much for them or the PAG.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddie

        Yes, I was remebering that too. Basically, a bunch of L-M marketing types convinced their bosses that they just had to live in sunny Southern California instead of Detroit to do their jobs. My thought at the time was that if they can pull off a scam like that they should have no trouble selling cars.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I haven’t been back to NYC since leaving in 2002. Cadillac has a presence there now? When I left, the livery market was 99.9% Lincoln Town Cars. The .1% consisted of ridiculous stretched SUVs and CUVs.

      Madison Avenue driving Cadillac marketing should be fun to watch. I don’t think most people are sharp enough to realize that products succeed in spite of modern day advertising more often than because of it.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      I can tell you haven’t visited the NYC area beyond midtown Manhattan. Otherwise you wouldn’t make such a stupid statement. There’s a reason that M-B, BMW, Jag and many others have had their NA operations in NJ just miles from Manhattan for years.

      The idea that all New Yorkers think all cars are yellow with lights on top is truly ignorant. The Tri-State covers a lot of area where cars are both a necessity and a passion. Not only is there great talent available, we’ve got plenty of drivers and enthusiasts.

      Even if it’s just a scheme for de Nysschen to have a corporate pied-a-tierre in NYC and escape Detroit, it would attract some of the best talent in experiential, social media, content and other innovative forms of marketing. I don’t think it will change their relationship with staid old Madison Avenue.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Shhhh, Pete…you’re interrupting the Two Minutes’ Cadillac Hate…

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        NYC is not just Manhattan. The NYC metro area has a population of 25 million people. NYC is also in the center of the Boston to DC corridor, the most densely populated part of the US(20% of the total US population) and the wealthiest area in the US. There are more high end cars sold in the Northeast than anywhere else in the US save for Southern California.

        Oh, at one time NJ had 3 auto assembly plants….two Ford and one GM. When Ford built their assembly plant in Mahwah back in 1955, it was the largest auto assembly plant in the world, larger than anything in Detroit. People who claim that NYC is not a car town don’t know what they are talking about. The reality is that NYC is not a pickup truck town, and Cadillac does not sell pickup trucks.

        • 0 avatar
          bomberpete

          Thank you. VoGo and you get it.

          My father was involved in retraining workers and re-use of the real estate when the Ford Mahwah plant went belly up back in 1981. Seeing the economy have some return to the car industry, even if it’s not industrial, would be a nice thing.

          NY State’s history with the automobile goes back to the horseless carriage days. The museum in Saratoga emphasizes makes like Franklin and Pierce Arrow that were made here. In college I used to go to a bar in Buffalo that was part of the Pierce Arrow plant. The Buffalo/Rochester area continues to be a engine/manufacturing area for GM, perhaps Ford still too.

          There was also a GM plant in Tarrytown NY that made minivans until the mid-2000s. GM had a Framingham MA plant that turned out its mid-sized cars for decades.

          • 0 avatar
            skor

            @bomberpete, few people today realize that NY/NJ once rivaled the Midwest in auto and parts production. In the early days of the horseless carriage, before WWI, there were 50 different auto makers in New Jersey alone.

            In 1918 Ford built an assembly plant in Kearny, NJ(a few miles from NYC) that employed 8,000 people. The Kearny plant was replaced by the Ford Edgewater assembly plant located on the Hudson River directly across from Manhattan. The cars came off the assembly line, where loaded onto barges, and were towed across the river for delivery to dealers in NYC.

            In addition to assembly of automobiles, NJ once had hundreds of auto parts makers, everything from stampings to bearings. At one time Chrysler had a huge bearing plant in New Jersey.

            GM is a Michigan Company? In 1908 the newly formed GM incorporated in New Jersey, and was known as General Motors Co of New Jersey.

            Today BMW/Rolls Royce North American Headquarters are located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. Mercedes North America is located in Montvale, New Jersey and Jaguar North America is located in Mahwah, New Jersey. All four are twenty miles from Midtown Manhattan.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Cali is probably too much of an anomaly.

      Caddy wants to sell to moneyed people everywhere. Most of whom, these days, are making their money the New York way, i.e. by having parents getting them into schools getting them into jobs that consists of sitting around doing busywork while daddy’s friends in the Capital prints money for them.

  • avatar

    Oh please not New York City, nothing personal but it’s just not a car town.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    The average car buyer will always think “Detroit”, and they should play that up in a Rocky-esque style. We were down and out, but we fought our way back with performance and style.
    Or something like that.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Makes almost as much sense as when Saab moved their HQ from CT to GA, i.e. none. Why do companies insist on rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic?

  • avatar
    VoGo

    You guys aren’t getting it. The skills required for a modern car brand, especially a luxury brand, include advanced capabilities in marketing, brand development, social media, strategy development and planning, finance, app development and implementation.

    Detroit isn’t a hotbed for these skills, like London, Hong Kong and NYC are.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      The skills required for a modern car brand, especially a luxury brand, also include advanced capabilities in automotive design and engineering.

      London, Hong Kong and NYC aren’t hotbeds for these skills.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree with you, but you struck a chord with Hong Kong, IMO. Cadillac and/or Buick should have a development office there, or at the very least send their design and engineering folks on trips to experience the city. The big money is and will be in Asia for some time, not New York. If anything the US and Europe will continue to decline economically.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Astigmatism
        No one said that design and engineering were moving.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ….The skills required for a modern car brand, especially a luxury brand, also include advanced capabilities in automotive design and engineering…..

        True, but those essential skills need not be next door to the marketing team. And urban chic seems to be in these days. Presenly Range Rover is marketing toward controlling the “urban jungle” and while I think it is silly, it does resonate with wealthy urban buyers.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Caddy ATS Bedford Avenue Edition has a nice ring to it.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    All the automakers had showrooms in Manhattan, showing off the newest models. They were for exposure of the brand and its offerings to the public. That public included some high rollers, “influentials”, and Wall Street execs. The most famous was the Hoffman Showroom on Park Avenue, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (check TTAC for the article about it), and it showed off Jaguar and up to 2010 Mercedes models. If the plan is to re-establish a showroom and add a sales/advertising office to coordinate both, it’s a good move. Cadillac (and all other GM) advertising definitely needs a shot in the arm/new blood.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      +1 – Civic Boosterism on my part

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I don’t think the advertising is the problem – I think the main issue with Cadillac’s new product is twofold: 1) silly marketing and pricing decisions, and 2) failures in product planning (like the one that left the ATS with a tiny back seat). Otherwise, these are fine driving cars that deserve to find a market.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Broward County Florida would be better – closer to their customers, fewer logistical hurdles to getting in people and stuff.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    So they’re moving the corporate office to get space between themselves and GM but allowing dealers to keep their Chevy/GMC/Buick/Cadillac combo showrooms? Caddy customers rubbing elbows with Spark owners is a bigger obstacle than marketing being run from Detroit.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      I agree. The local Caddy dealer here also sells Buick, GMC, and… Subaru. There are separate showrooms, but the name, customer parking, and service facilities are shared. Meanwhile, the Deutsches Drei and Nihon’s finest all have fully-independent, upscale dealerships within a mile on the same street. Doesn’t bode well for Cadillac.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Meanwhile, the Deutsches Drei and Nihon’s finest all have fully-independent, upscale dealerships within a mile on the same street.”

        No,they don’t all have independent dealers, and nor does Cadillac have exclusively “blended” dealerships. Here in Denver, there are two standalone Cadillac stores. Meanwhile, we also have “shared” dealerships like the ones you describe for BMW/Mercedes, Audi/VW/Mazda/Volvo, and even one Lexus/Chevy mashup (weird). There used to be a BMW/Honda dealer as well.

        In my hometown, St. Louis, there’s a luxury car megaplex that sells BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover and Audi out of the same complex.

        A short Google search will yield plenty of hits for “shared” dealers for every major brand all over the country. I just found four or five for BMW/Chevy alone.

        Inform yourself, please.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Why not? Every major luxury brand has locations shared with non-upscale brands. Start googling things like “BMW Chevrolet dealership” and see what you get. They’re everywhere…and no one argues that this cheapens BMW’s brand.

      But this is the Two Minutes Cadillac Hate…

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      On dealership property, Caddy buyers are permitted to strike offensive Spark owners with their riding crops. Or their bling, whichever would hurt more.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This is the first motivation I’ve had to buy a Cadillac in fifteen years.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Heh. Just remember that after you leave the property, you’re subject to the long arm of The Law. There are so many personal injury attorneys, even a Spark owner can afford one. For the personal satisfaction though, it still might be worth it.

  • avatar
    James2

    None of the above.

    It’s just that Johan de Nysschen doesn’t want to have to see his boss every day, especially when he has to explain why he failed. That’s why he moved Infiniti HQ to Hong Kong, to get away from Carlos Ghosn. Same with Cadillac.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Ah, yes, the Two Minutes’ Cadillac Hate…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This article doesn’t portray the complete truth, but it isn’t a lie either.

    When I was just in the States, the New York state government has a large advertising campaign for business to relocate to NY with very generous tax concessions and handouts.

    I wonder if this had much to do with this decision as well.

    Not a lie, but not the truth.

  • avatar

    seeking creative talent is good but GM wouldn’t know it if they found it. so save the money and stay put. maybe the new guy thinks by changing “something” he might last longer than the last few fellas.

  • avatar

    They ought to move to TX. Toyota gets it.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    Moving it to hipsters NYC simply means they will focus more on
    ‘social-media’ PR & markeking and less on cars..

    and yes , their next move is to go to Asia, .. so your traditional Cadillac will be focus more on ‘nouveau-riche chinesse’ than traditional american ‘focus group’:) .
    Who will stop corporation$ these days :)

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Moving some Cadillac operations such as PR and marketing here to NYC is not a bad idea. Especially considering Madison Ave is here. There is a fair amount of office space that is reasonably priced and there is more being built or refurbished. Sure we have great mass transit, lots of walking, in recent years a bit more of a biking culture but it’s not all anti-auto yuppies. There is a new automobile row on 11th Ave in the West 50’s that has a number of dealerships such as MB, Audi, VW, Ford/Lincoln and a Fiat dealer eh studio. Wall St. has a BMW dealer and there is a Maserati dealer in Tribeca. Additionally there are plenty of outer borough dealers and a large technical service school in College Point Queens. If you look at history back in the 20’s-30’s some Rolls Royce/Brewster models were manufactured here in LIC.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brewster_Building_(Queens)

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