The German automaker had been considering the move for some time, quietly shopping a number of sites for potential HQs. Back in December, rumors began swirling that the company had settled on Atlanta, and now, the gossip has proven true.
The announcement is undoubtedly a blow to New Jersey, especially residents of Montvale, the center of Mercedes-Benz's U.S. operations for some 50 years. However, as we discussed several weeks ago, the move to Georgia makes sense for many reasons, including Atlanta's proximity to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, the company's manufacturing facility that sits a short drive away in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Furthermore, Atlanta has an increasingly large pool of auto industry workers, thanks to companies like Porsche that have put down roots there. The move will also put Mercedes in closer contact with the growing Southern market. And not least of all, Georgia is a right-to-work state, which gives unions less power.
Some of those factors are reiterated by Stephen Cannon, President and CEO of MBUSA:
"Atlanta is a premier city which places us closer to our ever-growing Southeast customer base, our port in Brunswick, Georgia, and to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, our Alabama manufacturing facility, which accounts for half of the vehicles we sell here in the U.S. For our employees, Atlanta offers a strong quality of life, terrific schools and wonderful cultural and recreational opportunities."
Unlike Toyota, which expects a longish, drawn-outish move to its new headquarters in Plano, Texas, Mercedes-Benz's relocation is on the fast-track. Some employees will move to Atlanta as soon as July of this year, operating out of temporary facilities until a new campus is completed in "early 2017".
According to our sources, the relocation deal is said to be worth about $60 million in tax breaks from the state of Georgia. MBUSA hasn't revealed the exact location of its new headquarters, but it's believed to be near Perimeter, very close to the homebases of Porsche and Auto Trader.
The move is expected to affect 1,000 employees, though Mercedes says that it will maintain a presence in both Montvale and Robbinsville, New Jersey.