DETROIT - The Cadillac luxury brand will move its headquarters to New York next year to get closer to those living lives of luxury.
The high-end brand, which has lost sales this year as German rivals gain, also will become a separate business unit, giving it more freedom to chase global growth.
"There is no city in the world where the inhabitants are more immersed in a premium lifestyle than in New York," Johann de Nysschen, the brand's new president, said in a statement issued Tuesday announcing the move. "It allows our team to share experiences with premium-brand consumers and develop attitudes in common with our audience."
In August, GM (GM) hired de Nysschen away from Nissan's Infiniti luxury brand, where sales are up 7 percent in the U.S. so far this year. Cadillac, however, isn't performing as well. Sales have slumped nearly 5 percent this year despite several new vehicles that have received strong reviews. The sales drop comes as luxury sales and the overall U.S. market are growing.
Most of the luxury growth has gone to Cadillac's German rivals. Autodata Corp. says Audi sales are up nearly 15 percent, BMW is up almost 12 percent and Mercedes-Benz up 9 percent. Toyota's Lexus luxury brand also posted a 16 percent increase.
Cadillac's leaders and its marketing operations will move to loft offices in the SoHo section of Manhattan. But most of its employees will remain in Michigan, including technical product development teams. Manufacturing also will not change.
The company is still evaluating which employees will make the move, but spokesman David Caldwell said that in the initial phase next year, it's likely fewer than 100 people will make the move.