Beginning in June, Mercedes will move from New Jersey to temporary offices in Atlanta, where it will build a greenfield headquarters complex by the end of 2017.
Cannon said the decision was driven by high costs in New Jersey and by anticipated growth in vehicle sales and dealerships in the South, particularly in Atlanta, Houston and Dallas.
"If you believe the trends that most of the U.S. growth will happen there, this anticipates that growth,"Â� he said in an interview today.
"The great migration from north to south continues, and that's not just companies but our customers."Â�
Mercedes is the third automaker to announce a U.S. headquarters switch over the past year.
Toyota Motor Corp. is moving its North American sales, marketing and other corporate operations from southern California and the Cincinnati area to suburban Dallas. And General Motors' Cadillac brand is relocating from Detroit to New York.
Mercedes also is the second German automaker to choose Atlanta. Porsche moved its U.S. headquarters from Las Vegas in 1988 and in late 2012 began construction on a new headquarters near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Porsche is planning to move employees in to the new headquarters this month.
Cannon said that because Mercedes-Benz has outgrown its current headquarters in Montvale, N.J., staying there would have required a significant investment. Mercedes-Benz has been based in Montvale — about 30 miles from New York City — since 1972.
"This represents the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set up the next chapter of success for Mercedes-Benz USA,"Â� he said.