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Los Angeles — Cadillac plans to significantly grow its New York City headquarters operations in the coming years.

Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said the new global headquarters, scheduled to open by May or June, could more than double employees to about 300 in the next three years from the 130 it expects to have by the end of next year. This includes about 30 relocating from Detroit.

De Nysschen said the plan is to grow Cadillac in phases, as the 112-year-old brand looks to attract new customers and re-establish itself as a dominant global luxury brand.

Since The Detroit News reported the move in late September, some critics have questioned why Cadillac needs to shift to a New York address and the message it sends to the Motor City.

Cadillac Chief Marketing Officer Uwe Ellinghaus continued to stress that the move is to change the conversation around the brand, and it will ultimately benefit Detroit.

“We, of course, remain a proud subsidiary of General Motors, even if we go to a more standalone business,” he told The News on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday. “What strengthens Cadillac going global in New York, because it is the most cosmopolitan city in the world, will also strengthen General Motors at home in Michigan.”

Ellinghaus said he was surprised by the amount of criticism surrounding the move.

All senior executives will be based in New York, which brought unexpected controversy following speculation that Cadillac’s move had to do with de Nysschen‘s desire to live in New York. De Nysschen said those claims were “absolute nonsense.”

“Can you imagine a corporation that says, ‘OK, we’ll incur all of these relocation costs because we think the boss wants to go live in a different place?’ It’s nonsense,” he said. “Nobody would do that.”

The new headquarters is at 330 Hudson, a 16-story, 467,000-square-foot building in the Hudson Square neighborhood. Cadillac is leasing the top two floors, which are wrapped in glass and have 14-foot ceilings.

Before the move, Ellinghaus said Cadillac has other plan sto move the brand forward and better compete with its European competition, which has dominated the segment.

“You can expect a complete new look and feel of Cadillac’s communication during the first quarter for 2015,” he said, adding the efforts will culminate with the unveiling of its new CT6 flagship as part of the New York International Auto Show on April 1.

Ellinghaus said the plans do not include advertising during the 2015 Super Bowl, saying they have “something much better.”

Separately, Ellinghaus also confirmed that all future Cadillac models besides the ELR and Escalade will use a simplified naming system of letters and numbers, following suit with German luxury brands.

“Whether we like it or not, these Germans set the standards,” he said. We want to build the brand Cadillac, and this should be the driver of passion. We don’t want to build and invest in nameplates.”

Cadillac will use the letters "CT" for all its cars and “XT for its crossovers and SUVs, with a number after indicating size and position.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504

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