Uwe Ellinghaus could use some work on his comedic timing. Or maybe Americans just aren't used to Germans telling jokes.
When the Cadillac marketing chief was taking flak this fall for the brand's decision to move its headquarters to New York, he tried deflecting it with some deadpan humor -- which, he acknowledges, Germans don't do very well.
"I was asked, 'Is that the beginning of the returning decline of Detroit? ... And does General Motors maybe have the wish to move other brands out of Detroit?'" Ellinghaus recalled in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
"And I said, 'Guys, guys, guys, where are you living? We are moving to New York because this is the city all others are measured by, and we need the talent, we need the luxury environment. ... But we have no desire whatsoever to develop or manufacture cars in Manhattan.'
"And I read in an interview, 'According to Uwe Ellinghaus, CMO of Cadillac, Cadillac has currently no plans to manufacture cars in Manhattan.'
"A couple of colleagues came to me and said, 'Uwe, were you drunk?' And I said: 'No! I was kidding! But they didn't get it!'"
In all seriousness, though, Cadillac currently has no plans to manufacture cars in Manhattan. Or in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island ...