Employees at Mercedes-Benz's US headquarters in Montvale, NJ, are set to gather today for the annual president's reception. Only this year, company chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche is expected to fly in from headquarters to make a big announcement. That announcement, according to mounting speculation, is that MBUSA is moving to Atlanta.

News of the potential move first broke around three weeks ago, suggesting that the German automaker was looking to relocate its US headquarters from New Jersey to somewhere in the South, with the Atlanta area tipped as the front-runner. Now sources are expecting that announcement to be made imminently. Although the specifics of the move have yet to be made public, Mercedes is tipped to be looking at moving into either a purpose-built facility or an existing office space in the Sandy Springs area, specifically near the intersections of Georgia 400 and Abertnathy, where UPS has its headquarters.

The move is said to have hinged on a substantial incentives package worth nearly $50 million put together by the Georgia state government. The state of New Jersey is said to have offered similar incentives to keep Mercedes in the Bergen County borough of Montvale, where it employs 800 in its 141,000-square-foot office complex. One advertising company even put up billboards encouraging the company to stay, but if the reports prove accurate, it looks like their efforts may have been too little and/or too late.

Mercedes wouldn't be the first automaker to move to the South, where numerous foreign carmakers have been also setting up factories. Toyota is also preparing to move its US headquarters to Texas, and though already based in Georgia, Porsche is preparing to move into a new $100 million facility, complete with on-site test track, closer to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport that has grown into a major international hub. The move on Mercedes' part would put its US base of operations closer to its factory in Tuscaloosa, AL, and the port near Savannah, GA, from which it ships out the former's production overseas.


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