General Motors is moving its Cadillac brand headquarters from New York back to Macomb County, four years after heading to the big city to become more cosmopolitan.
The move to Warren, across the street from GM’s giant technical center, will take place in April.
“It’s great news for Warren. It’s great news for Michigan,” Mayor James Fouts said.
“Obviously, it reinforces the idea we are a business friendly community.”
State Sen. Steve Bieda, a Warren Democrat, echoed Fouts’ excitement and added the move seems natural.
“It’s only fitting that this brand returns home where it first rolled off the assembly line in 1902, and we can’t wait to welcome them back,” Bieda said. “When you think of luxury, you think of Cadillac. When you think of the best autoworkers who put the world on wheels, you think of the Motor City.”
The company said Wednesday the brand’s workers need to be closer to engineers and designers because Cadillac plans to launch a new vehicle every six months for the next three years. Operations will be housed in the former Campbell-Ewald headquarters on Van Dyke Avenue.
The move comes five months after GM ousted Cadillac brand chief Johan de Nysschen, who thought a New York headquarters would give the brand more sophistication when Cadillac moved to New York in 2014. Cadillac sales fell 8 percent last year but were up 5.4 percent during the first half of 2018. GM replaced de Nysschen with Steve Carlisle, who ran GM’s Canadian operations.
Spokesman Patrick Morrissey said GM learned a lot about the brand in New York, but circumstances changed since 2014 with Cadillac being part of GM’s technology and electric vehicle push. About 70 percent of the workers in New York were recruited from the city, bringing GM new talent, Morrissey said.
“Cadillac’s move to Michigan will further support one of the most aggressive on-going product expansions in the brand’s history, with the introduction of a new vehicle every six months through 2020,” Andrew Lipman, Global Communications Director for Cadillac, said. “The move will place the Cadillac brand team closer to those responsible for the new Cadillacs, including design, engineering, purchasing and manufacturing, ensuring full integration of Cadillac’s global growth strategy. Cadillac will maintain a brand presence in New York City with the Cadillac House, an experiential brand center which serves as a public space for events, concerts and collaborative partnerships until longer term brand plans are in place.”
All 110 workers at the headquarters in the Manhattan’s SoHo district will be offered jobs in Michigan.
De Nysschen was hired away from Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand with much promise and named president of Cadillac in August of 2014. A few months later he moved the brand’s headquarters from Detroit to New York.
New York’s economic development agency approved a $1 million grant to Cadillac to help with the $12.7 million renovation of the Manhattan headquarters.
Morrissey said GM did not draw down any of the incentive funds “but we are thankful and appreciative of the support we got from New York.”
Jason Conwall, spokesman for Empire State Development, New York state’s main economic development office, said the state is disappointed in the move, but understands “this is a business decision being made by GM to co-locate the Cadillac headquarters with the rest of its corporate headquarters.”
He confirmed that the state did not disperse any of the $1 million performance grant to GM.
“I’m thrilled to hear the incredible news that General Motors is moving its Cadillac headquarters back home to the Motor City region. This is certainly a strategic move that will position the iconic brand within the epicenter of GM engineering and alongside the resurgence of the automotive industry that we are seeing in Macomb County and the greater Detroit area,” Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said.
Fouts said he heard talk that GM had new plans in Warren but wasn’t aware it involved relocation of the Cadillac division to his city until he received a phone call Wednesday from GM officials. They asked him to not reveal details publicly until the automaker first made the announcement.
Noting that many people and companies desire to move to the Big Apple, Fouts added: “Maybe some people have decided Warren is a better destination than New York.”
In May 2015, GM announced its plan to spend $1 billion in new construction and renovations at its sprawling Technical Center campus in Warren and add 2,600 jobs over a period of years. That level of investment is expected to reach $1.5 billion, the mayor said Wednesday.
The massive, ongoing project resulted in some workers being temporarily relocated into other facilities, including the former Campbell Ewald advertising firm headquarters on the east side of Van Dyke Avenue, north of 12 Mile Road.
Courtesy of Macomb Daily