I will say that the principle of putting some distance between an empowered semi-autonomous Cadillac division and the rest of the corporation to me to this day makes a lot of sense.
I think the issue was up until that stage, until the Cadillac division had been created and empowered to control its own product manning, marketing, and distribution, all of those things had been done corporate generically for all the brands. I always said that the rules of the luxury market are different than the rules of the mainstream market. What’s good for Chevy isn’t necessarily good for Cadillac.
The thing is if you didn’t have geographic separation, the meetings and the decision makers and the faces won’t change. Did it have to be New York? I don’t know. It’s an expensive place, which I encounter every day of my life [living in nearby Hoboken]. But it’s also clear that folks who rooted for Detroit felt betrayed. Cadillac had an enemy. The truth of the matter’s quite different. I always say that it felt to me that Cadillac had its roots in Detroit, always will be from Detroit and Detroit’s their hometown, and we wish that our hometown would be rooting for us as we go and challenge the world to become what we used to be.
The way I saw my job at Cadillac was to grow the company again. To achieve that by addressing the constraints in the product portfolio, in terms of powertrain availability. Engines were generically developed with the Chevy brand in mind and, then, “Okay, well, yeah, it’s good enough for Cadillac.” The strong U.S.-centric focus that so characterized Cadillac’s entire existence was precisely what inhibited it from getting the products that it needed because the volumes just weren’t there to justify the investments, and every one of the [proposed] projects would bomb out on the financial evaluation. GM—having gone into bankruptcy and emerged from it very successfully—has a very vigorous set of requirements for new investment. There are no pet projects.