Service of Location as Inspiration

October 2nd, 2014

Categories: Uncategorized

Cadillac

Cadillac

I have no idea how many American BMW and Mercedes owners know that company headquarters are in Munich and Stuttgart respectively, much less whether they base their decision to buy one of these cars because of this geographical fact. I’m also ignorant as to whether either of these cities are incubators of design and innovation for luxury goods. I bet that auto fans for these brands, in this country at least, are as in the dark about the fashion and trend temperature of these German cities as I am.

SoHo

SoHo

So when General Motors’ Cadillac luxury brand announced that it was moving its headquarters to NYC’s trendy SoHo district from Detroit, I wondered what management really hoped to accomplish. Employees at headquarters will focus on sales and marketing; the other operations will remain where they are according to “GM separates Cadillac, moves headquarters to NYC” by James R. Healey in USA Today.

Healey quotes Karl Brauer, Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. This auto analyst told him: “A move to New York may add status to its mailing address, but what’s really needed is clearer direction in Cadillac’s sales and marketing efforts. The new management team needs to find its footing and execute in these areas as quickly as possible. Hopefully the move doesn’t delay this process.”

Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac president, shared this rationale for the move: “There is no city in the world where the inhabitants are more immersed in a premium lifestyle than in New York. Establishing our new global headquarters in SoHo places Cadillac at the epicenter of sophisticated living. It allows our team to share experiences with premium-brand consumers and develop attitudes in common with our audience.”

California traffic

California traffic

I think potholes, no place to park–not cars–when I think “Manhattan,” luxury or otherwise. However I’ve been told that citizens of California are luxury car-obsessed. So I wonder about the move to New York, though I’m happy for the some 70 people who will be added to the employment rolls given that Cadillac is bringing 30 staffers from Michigan and expects to employ some 100 here.

Do you think any move helps shake a division sufficiently to make a difference to the bottom line and to impact earnings in a positive or negative way? Further, what’s wrong with importing to Detroit consultants who specialize in the luxury business whether they live in NYC or anywhere in the world?

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4 Responses to “Service of Location as Inspiration”

  1. Simon Carr Said:

    I will always identify this brand with my father. As a boy, he had been a scholarship student at a prominent New England University and was enormously ambitious. By his forty’s, he had become sufficiently successful that he could afford to buy the largest top-of-the-line big black Cadillac money could buy, which is exactly what he did.

    Then he thought to look around him and see who else was driving a Cadillac. The people driving them at the time were not those men he considered to be his peers. His next car was a Jaguar and the one after, a Mercedes. He never owned a Cadillac again.

    Location? Nonsense. This is just a not so smart marketing gimmick. The company would be better off killing the brand and bringing back Packard.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Simon,

    My grandfather loved his Cadillacs. [As I write this I wonder if this image may not be one of the things that the brand-changers need to address.] I don’t know if Grandpa had other makes before but in the period we both shared this earth when I’d be aware of such things, he only owned a Cadillac.

    Luxury cars are not my focus but I always loved the look of a Jaguar. However I was told that they are very sensitive–not the frame to survive NYC ruts and potholes.

    Lately all the cars look the same to me regardless of brand. It’s me, I know. An aficionado would probably scream in frustration and list the many ways one car is different from the other.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    Anyone dumb enough to buy a car based on location of plant, salesroom or company HQ, deserves no sympathy should the engine die at the worst possible moment. Exchanging quality for prestigious address, regarding any item, is lower than stupid. Good manners prohibit further comment.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    There was a time when Switzerland was known for the best chocolate and finest watches, Italy and France for wine, bread, cheese and fashion, England for men’s suits and accessories and Cuba for cigars to give a few examples. In some cases this kind of association with place might still exist but all of these things are made in umpteen other places and I haven’t heard marketers depend on such claims in eons.

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