General Motors has announced plans to expand its 112-year old Cadillac brand beyond its home base in Detroit by bringing its offices to the Big Apple. The anticipated move is part of new boss Johan de Nysschen’s vision to “resurrect Cadillac’s status as one of the world’s top luxury marquees,” by widening its primary appeal beyond the United States, Canada and China where its SRX crossover has been its best selling model since 2010. Even though Cadillac models are also sold in 34 other markets, de Nysschen feels that he can best expand its customer base by
distancing it both physically and “culturally” from its parent company. While marketing and advertising strategy would most likely shift to Manhattan, industry experts, however, believe that all technical decisions and operations, including engineering and design, would probably remain in Michigan.
De Nysschen is the third new head of Cadillac in the past two years. In his previous position as head of Nissan’s Infiniti brand he was able to give Infiniti’s team more autonomy to explore new ideas to expand within global markets by moving the division headquarters to Hong Kong from Yokahama, Japan.
Although Ford attempted a similar strategy with its own Lincoln luxury brand by moving it to southern California back in 1999 to become part of its “Premier Automotive Group,” it brought it back to Dearborn, MI just three years later.
Cadillac is among the oldest continuing auto brands in the world, and second in the US only to Buick (also owned by GM). Founded by William Murphy, Lemuel Bowen and Henry M. Lenand (from the Henry Ford Company) on August 2, 1902, it was bought by General Motors in 1909. By 1915, however, Cadillac “laid the foundation for the modern mass production of automobiles by demonstrating the complete interchangeability of its precision parts while simultaneously establishing itself as one of America's premier luxury cars.” It was also the first automobile to introduce complete electrical systems, the “clashless” manual transmission and three engines, including the V-8. It was also the first brand to sport a steel roof.