September 26, 2018 / 8:04 PM / a year ago

GM's Cadillac to leave Big Apple, return to Michigan roots

DETROIT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) said on Wednesday that Cadillac will switch its headquarters back to Michigan from New York after just three years to be closer to engineers and design teams as the luxury brand plans to roll out two new vehicles annually through 2020.

FILE PHOTO: The Cadillac logo is seen on a wheel of the 2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport being presented at the New York Auto Show in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Cadillac moved to New York under Johan de Nysschen, who ran the brand from 2014 until his abrupt ouster in April. The move to the Big Apple in 2015 accompanied bold plans to reshape Cadillac’s lineup with a $12 billion product program in 2015 and was meant to bring the brand closer to the urban customers who for years had shunned it.

GM replaced De Nysschen with Steve Carlisle, who previously served as managing director of GM’s Canadian operations.

After betting heavily on sedans models that are increasingly unpopular with U.S. consumers, last summer Cadillac announced a plan to catch up with market shifts by shrinking its lineup of sedans in favor of larger, more popular sport utility vehicles.

Through the first six months of this year, Cadillac’s U.S. sales were up 5.4 percent, driven by growth in SUV sales.

Next April, Cadillac will move to Warren, Michigan, a stone’s throw from GM’s main design hub.

A GM spokesman said Cadillac will remain a separate business unit. The brand employs 110 people in New York, all of whom will be offered jobs in Michigan, the spokesman said.

The spokesman said that Cadillac will also play a “big role” in the automaker’s plans for developing self-driving vehicles and that it made sense for the brand to be closer to the rest of GM.

Cadillac was founded in Detroit in 1902.

Modern Detroit traces its origins back to a man named Cadillac — Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, to be precise, a French adventurer who founded Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit in 1701.

When Cadillac moved to New York it was eligible for state investment incentives, which a GM spokesman said the automaker had never used.

Reporting by Nick Carey and David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler

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