Cadillac, the crown jewel of American luxury cars, is staying in New York City after all.
The automaker’s new boss, Steve Carlisle, “will commute to Detroit or anywhere else in the world as is needed to transform Cadillac into a top-selling luxury brand,” General Motors told the Detroit Free Press.
Another Cadillac spokesperson said, “It’s 100 percent that we’re staying here, that was never a question.”
Of course, it helps when you have $1 million in your back pocket, promised to you by the Governor of New York, for office renovations.
Back in February, the New York Post reported that Andrew Cuomo approved a $1 million grant for Cadillac to renovate its admittedly already very swanky SoHo headquarters in Lower Manhattan. The grant included plans to “purchase and installation of furniture, fixtures and equipment.”
Some weren’t pleased about the grant. From the story:
John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, called the government grant an “utter waste of state tax dollars on corporate welfare for a luxury car company that had already planned on moving to posh Soho.”
“With business handouts like this, the governor and legislature are flushing $2 billion of public funds down the toilet every year,” Kaehny said. “That’s money that could be spent on subways, roads, clean water and schools.”
It’s also worth nothing that Cuomo is a known gearhead and that perhaps this grant is part of an indulgence for a legacy American car brand. The New York Times included this anecdote about him in 2010:
Not all the investments panned out. A troubled 1969 Chevrolet El Camino became Mr. Cuomo’s white whale — bewitching and enraging him.
After weeks of repairs, Mr. Cuomo was driving the car down a highway a few years ago, with Chris trailing him, as the engine began to sputter loudly. Chris, pulling up beside him, begged his brother to slow down, but Mr. Cuomo refused. “It’s either going to live or die,” Mr. Cuomo shouted over the din. With that, he stomped on the gas, and the engine exploded, sending metal parts flying into the air.
Cadillac shifted its headquarters from Detroit to New York City in the fall of 2015, a move that drew sharp criticism from those back home in the Motor City. Cadillac’s then-CEO, Johan de Nysschen (who abruptly departed the company two months ago) was intent on changing Cadillac’s brand image by uprooting it completely.
He hedged much of the brand’s reputation and resources on the new Manhattan office in the hopes to cast off the stodgy, old GM image that the brand had back in Detroit. At first, it was unclear what would happen to Cadillac’s headquarters after de Nysschen left, but now it seems like the luxury brand is here to stay.
(h/t to Hannah!)