Cadillac House opened its doors in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood in 2015, and in the years since, the concept has traveled to Munich, Germany; Seoul, South Korea; and now Shanghai, China.
But it’s nothing like a dealership. Instead, it offers offers urbanites a meeting place, art gallery, and café with plenty of seating (and wifi). And during their daily coffee run, visitors can also get a look at some of the latest Cadillac vehicles staged throughout the space.It’s a way for Cadillac, part of General Motors, to connect with prospective buyers in a different way — without the pressure of going into a dealership.
“We really wanted to [see how] we can engage with people in real life and offer them a brand experience, without it being this harder sell of being in the dealership,” said Katie Kim, who leads Cadillac’s brand partnerships & experiences team. “We have 500 or 600 people who come here everyday. And its just part of their routine when they come here and get coffee to see one of our products on display.
“Opened in 2015 after the company relocated its headquarters from Detroit to New York, Cadillac House also showcases the brand values, with an emphasis on arts and entertainment. The space includes a free art gallery with rotating interactive exhibits. The company also works with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to provide entrepreneurs with space to run their own pop-up store inside Cadillac House. (In 2018, General Motors announced it would move Cadillac’s HQ back to the suburbs of Detroit, amidst declining US sales.)
“[T]he purpose is to bring our passion points to life and to really demonstrate what our brand values are to the consumer,” Kim said. “When we look at our target market, [generations] X and Y are of increasing importance to the luxury auto segment… And for us, it felt like arts and culture were organic and really authentic to Cadillac, and also something that’s of high interest to our target market and our neighborhood.
“Cadillac’s values are reflected in events hosted in the space. From Men’s Fashion Week to dinner series with local non-profits, Cadillac House can host up to 100 events a year. General Motors says it will remain open even after the brand’s headquarters move back to Michigan.
“The programming is really what makes Cadillac House unique,” Kim said. “Its not just a space. It’s quickly becoming a platform and a larger brand concept that we can hang our hat on…”
Update: After Cadillac moved its headquarters back to Detroit, Cadillac House officially closed in early 2019.