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GM may move some Cadillac operations to Manhattan

General Motors Co.'s premium Cadillac group is considering expanding its offices from Detroit to Manhattan, GM said Thursday, as part of an effort to remake the brand's image and broaden its appeal outside North America under new boss Johan de Nysschen.

"As Cadillac grows, it's possible we could look to add to our team or expand," said Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell. "But as of now, no changes."

De Nysschen, in his previous role as head of Nissan Motor Co.'s Infiniti brand, engineered a relocation of that unit from Yokohama to Hong Kong, in part to give the Infiniti team more autonomy from the Japanese parent and the opportunity to explore new ways to expand in global markets.

GM has been on a similar quest to expand 112-year-old Cadillac, one of the world's oldest surviving brands, beyond its home base, while resurrecting Cadillac's earlier status as one of the world's top luxury marques.

De Nysschen, the brand's third leader in two years, so far has not publicly disclosed how he plans to revive Cadillac.

But an expansion of Cadillac's offices to Manhattan could help attract additional talent and put some distance -- physically and culturally -- between Cadillac's management team and GM headquarters in downtown Detroit.

While such technical functions as design, engineering and product development likely would remain in southeastern Michigan, it is possible that de Nysschen could shift marketing, advertising and strategy to Manhattan.

Word of a possible move by Cadillac to Manhattan was reported yesterday by the Japanese website

Ford Motor Co. briefly pursued a similar strategy for its premium Lincoln brand, which was relocated to southern California in 1999 and folded into the company's Premier Automotive Group. In 2002, Lincoln was separated from the group and returned to Ford headquarters in Dearborn.

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