German luxury automobile maker Mercedes-Benz said Tuesday that it's moving its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey to Atlanta, in part to be closer to its manufacturing facility in Alabama.
The decision comes after weeks of lobbying — some of it public — by New Jersey officials who sought to keep the company in Montvale, at a campus that's about a five-minute drive from BMW's North American headquarters.
About 1,000 jobs are to be moved starting in July. The company said it will move first to a temporary facility in Atlanta before moving into a new space in about two years.
The company said some operational areas will remain in Montvale and Robbinsville, New Jersey.
In a statement, Mercedes-Benz USA President and CEO Stephen Canon praised New Jersey.
"The state has worked tirelessly with us as we evaluated our options," he said. "Ultimately, though, it became apparent that to achieve the sustained, profitable growth and efficiencies we require for the decades ahead, our headquarters would have to be located elsewhere."
Some New Jersey officials, including Gov. Chris Christie, say the state's high taxes are a major factor for businesses and wealthy individuals moving away.
The state has been trying to counteract that with its new system of incentives. In 2014, it promised more than $2 billion in future tax breaks to companies moving to or remaining in the state. That's more than it promised from 1996 through 2009 combined.
New Jersey could have offered Mercedez-Benz up to $15 million to stay just from one incentive aimed at car companies' U.S. headquarters.
Under New Jersey's incentives last year, Subaru of America agreed to stay in New Jersey, and the Philadelphia 76ers announced plans to move their offices and practice facility to Camden, New Jersey, while continuing to play in Philadelphia, a short drive away.
But the state has lost some major businesses to the South: Car rental giant The Hertz Corp. is moving to Estero, Florida, with the help of $85 million in tax breaks, and Bubble Wrap maker Sealed Air Corp. is moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, with the aid of $35 million in breaks.
Cannon said that the company will benefit by being closer to its growing base of customers in the Southeast as well as its port in Brunswick, Georgia, and its manufacturing facility in Alabama.
He also said the quality of life, schools and cultural options in Atlanta were reasons to move there.
The company said it would announce more details later in January.