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GM's Cadillac brand to open headquarters in New York

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[September 23, 2014]  DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co <GM.N> said on Tuesday its Cadillac brand will open a headquarters in New York next year in a move to remake the luxury marque's image and broaden its appeal outside North America.

Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said the brand expects the office, including display and event space, in the trendy Soho neighborhood of Manhattan to open around the second quarter of 2015.

GM said the move will establish the brand as a separate business unit.

“With the relentless upward repositioning of successive new-generation Cadillac products, the next logical step is to provide Cadillac more freedom to cultivate the brand in pursuit of further global growth,” GM President Dan Ammann said in a statement.

Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen, who took over the brand in August, told the Detroit News that the automaker wanted to put "distance between Cadillac and the rest of the General Motors entity."

Reuters previously reported that Cadillac was looking at expanding to New York. De Nysschen told the News he expected the New York office to employ about 120 people.

Caldwell said the move would only affect sales and marketing, while product development, design, engineering and research and development staff would remain in place, mostly in the Detroit area.

De Nysschen, in his previous role as head of Nissan Motor Co's 7201.T Infiniti brand, relocated the 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.

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GM has been on a similar quest to expand the 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 vehicles. De Nysschen is Cadillac's third leader in two years.

Cadillac said last Friday it would begin production of a new high-end car by the end of 2015, positioned above today's CTS and XTS cars.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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