First, let's be perfectly clear. Cadillac is an American icon. It is not a German car. It doesn't matter who's running Cadillac or what his background is. Cadillac belongs in Detroit.
If the management of Cadillac wants a little breathing room from General Motors management, a friend of mine made a good suggestion: Build a new headquarters building on the site of Cadillac's Hamtramck plant. Cadillac used to be headquartered inside the assembly plant on Clark Street in Detroit.
The idea of moving sales and marketing staff to New York can only mean that someone wants to live in New York. There is no rational reason to put them outside Detroit, in New York or anywhere else. It would only separate them further from all the important decisions that will be made in Detroit about Cadillac. They all need to participate in design, engineering and manufacturing decisions. It would be another distraction they don't need.
Changing the naming of Cadillac models to an alphanumeric BMW or Mercedes system is equally wrong. What ever happened to names like Fleetwood, DeVille and Eldorado?
It is most disappointing that the new head of Cadillac had this decision thrust on him without any chance to evaluate the situation or get some wise advice from outside the company -- from his dealers, for example. It would appear that he had no choice in the matter.
The success of Cadillac is going to be product -- pure and simple. Create great products for the dealers and customers, and GM will see a resurgence of the brand. It would seem foolhardy to put the marketing folks as far away as New York so they can be completely ignored on all product decisions.
The head of Cadillac should take some time, take a deep breath and put the decision on hold for a few months until he gets enough advice, from both outside and inside, to make a rational decision.
Perhaps he should talk to some Ford executives who moved Lincoln staff out to California in the 1990s. They even moved the design team. It didn't work, and they took quite a while to recover from that bad decision when they returned to Dearborn a few years later.
To go ahead with this decision will be nothing short of catastrophic for Cadillac, its dealers and their customers.
To fragmentize decision making over several hundred miles makes no sense. To copy a numbering system that is obviously German in origin makes no sense.
My only advice to anyone planning to settle in New York City is be sure to rent, not buy. It's a bad idea.